Almost every woman will experience a few PMS symptoms at some point during her menstrual cycle. However, when the symptoms become either too frequent or too prolonged it can have a debilitating effect on everyday life. Here at A.Vogel Talks PMS, Our PMS expert Emma Thornton is on hand to offer practical advice about how to tackle these symptoms using natural remedies and self-help techniques. There is also a Q&A service where you can ask Emma any questions you have about PMS.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual tension (PMT) are two different names for the same condition. The term PMS is more often used nowadays.
The condition is characterised by a group of symptoms experienced regularly each month by menstruating women. Symptoms appear after ovulation and resolve once menstrual bleeding starts. This span of approximately two weeks is known medically as the ‘luteal phase’ of the menstrual cycle.
The pattern of symptoms coming and going in time with the menstrual cycle is important in the diagnosis of PMS. Women, who feel unwell for most of the month or every day, are unlikely to have true PMS and may suffer from another condition.
Even so, diagnosis of PMS is not always easy to make. This is because most women (estimated to be 85%) experience a few menstrual symptoms before each period but not all will have PMS. Only when symptoms begin to affect day-to-day living and quality of life will the diagnosis be considered.
Research suggests that between 3 and 8% of women experience severe symptoms of PMS - a condition known as PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
It might be worth recording your symptoms using our PMS Diary – this way you’ll be able to monitor your symptoms and gouge their frequency and severity!
It is not clear what causes PMS. What we know is that the ‘balance’ of the two main female hormones oestrogen and progesterone play an important role, but how and why symptoms arise has still to be worked out by scientists.
However, several factors are known to contribute to the problem by worsening symptoms. These include:
PMS can affect any menstruating woman. Symptoms are not experienced during pregnancy and for obvious reasons, end with the menopause.
The condition is said to be most common between the ages of 20 and 40, and in women who have had only one child. PMS is also said to be most troublesome when there are big changes in hormones, such as around the time of the first period (menarche), just before the menopause or when coming off the pill.
In general, doctors will avoid the diagnosis of PMS in young teenagers who have just started their periods despite the fact that many girls experience symptoms in their first few years of menstruation.
If you are troubled by one particular symptom, treat this specifically. For instance, if PMS reduces your ability to cope with stress, taking a valerian based product can help improve the way you feel – it may be taken on its own, or together with Agnus castus.
In general, doctors would prefer to avoid the use of prescription medicines when treating PMS. However, if you have tried non-prescription medicines and symptoms are still troubling you, there is sometimes little choice but to give painkillers, anti-depressants or the oral contraceptive pill a try.
Hello my name is Emma and I am a qualified nutritionist. My areas of interest include female health and weight management.
I have a passion for healthy living and a holistic approach to health. I enjoy writing for the A. Vogel website, translating my knowledge into informative pages.
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