What is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Premenstrual syndrome is medically defined as a series of emotional and physical symptoms that occur during the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle which are severe enough to disrupt certain aspects of a woman’s life. Up to eighty five percent of women of childbearing age experience Premenstrual syndrome. This condition is often considered something normal which every woman of reproductive age will experience. However, there are cases of extremely severe PMS which is different from the normal discomfort. This affects two to ten percent of women and may require medical intervention.
What Cause Premenstrual Syndrome?
The exact cause of Premenstrual syndrome is not fully known. Nonetheless, the following factors are linked to PMS:
- Genetic predisposition
- High levels of glutamate whose levels spike just before menstruation
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Serotonin activity in the brain
What are the Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome?
The symptoms of Premenstrual syndrome vary from woman to woman. They are as follows:
- Breast tenderness and soreness
- Abdominal cramps
- Irritability and mood swings
- Food cravings and overeating
- Trouble concentrating
- Low libido
- Bowel movement problems such as constipation and diarrhea
- Elevated body temperature
How is Premenstrual Syndrome Diagnosed?
There is no single lab test that can be used to diagnose PMS. In addition, physicians all over the world do not quite agree on what qualifies as PMS. Nonetheless, the following methods can be used to diagnose Premenstrual syndrome:
- Symptoms must appear during the premenstrual or luteal phase of a woman’s cycle in order for the problem to qualify as PMS.
- Symptoms must be significant enough to disrupt a woman’s life.
- Conditions such as hypothyroidism which have the same symptoms as Premenstrual syndrome must be ruled out with the appropriate medical tests.
- Other problems related to the female reproductive system such as endometriosis must also be ruled out
- Symptoms must form a predictable pattern which can be recorded by the patient as per the doctor’s instructions.
Treatment and Management
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors can be used to treat severe PMS
- Hormonal treatment by prescribing the combined oral contraceptive pill, progesterone pills and gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
- Clonidine can also be used to treat women with PMS particularly women whose PMS symptoms coincide with a decline in beta-endorphin
- Education and information
- Reduce your caffeine, sugar and sodium intake
- Exercise regularly
- Learn how to cope with stress
- Eat a healthy diet that is packed with vitamins and calcium
- Increase fiber intake
- Get enough rest
How does Premenstrual Syndrome affect the Female Libido?
Premenstrual syndrome negatively affects a woman’s libido by lowering it. A psychological study has suggested the reason why women get premenstrual syndrome in the first place is to reject infertile males. When a woman ovulates, her body produces more pheromones and she seems more attractive to the opposite sex. Due to the inborn instinct to reproduce, men are said to unconsciously notice and desire women more when they are ovulating. Therefore, this study suggests that women suffer from emotional symptoms such as irritability during PMS as a way to reject men who do not notice when they are ovulating.
All in all, women tend to be more emotional, sensitive and depressed during their premenstrual phase. This state of mind lowers their libido.
Natural Supplements for Premenstrual Syndrome
- Calcium supplementation is said to significantly reduce Premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
- Studies have suggested the vitamin E and vitamin B6 supplementation can also be effective.
- Others forms of supplementation that have been suggested are for magnesium, tryptophan and manganese. Studies are inconclusive.
- Black cohosh is an herb that is said to alleviate symptoms of PMS. Black cohosh is not recommended for women who have liver problems
- Chasteberry is another ancient herb that has been used for centuries to alleviate symptoms of PMS. It is said to work on the pituitary gland to prevent hormonal imbalances.
- Evening primrose oil has long been said to be an effective cure for PMS. However, there is no scientific evidence backing this claim.
Premenstrual syndrome is perfectly normal for most women. However, some women experience such severe symptoms that they may need medical help. Men particularly despise this particular phase in a woman’s cycle. This is because some women become unbearable by becoming moody and extremely sensitive. Conflicts can arise during this time. Nonetheless, none of the sexes is justified to use PMS as an excuse. Men should strive to be more understanding. On the other hand, women should try not to let this condition make them miserable as well as everyone else around them. In addition, having a healthy lifestyle will make PMS less and less severe.