Conquering the Challenges: Understanding and Managing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Conquering the Challenges: Understanding and Managing Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can be from overjoyed to deathly sad, from full of energy to tired and unfocused – the monthly ups and downs of hormones lead to fluctuations in the physical and mental well-being of many women. The days before menstruation aren’t exactly the best for many women.

PMS: What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

The premenstrual syndrome is a whole complex of complaints – both physical and mental – and leads to a significant reduction in the quality of life for many women. The symptoms always appear in the second half of the cycle, the so-called luteal phase. They begin 10 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation, worsen until the onset, and then disappear on the first or second day of the menstrual period.


PMS: Symptoms and Signs

PMS comprises a range of more than 150 symptoms that can occur with varying frequency and intensity. They are divided into mental and physical symptoms. These PMS symptoms manifest themselves in complaints such as:

  • Irritability, mood swings
  • depressive moods, anxiety states
  • sleep and concentration disorders
  • Water retention (in the ankles and eyelids)
  • The feeling of tension in the breasts
  • headache
  • food cravings
  • Abdominal pain, feeling of fullness, flatulence
  • Acne

Some women experience just one or two of the PMS symptoms, while others experience a dozen of the PMS symptoms. Depending on the severity of the PMS symptoms, there may be recurring conflicts in partnership, family and work during this time. Luckily, the symptoms stop when menstruation begins.

Causes of premenstrual syndrome

To date, the causes of PMS have yet to be clarified. However, with the variety of symptoms, it is unlikely that only a single trigger comes into question. The following are discussed as possible triggers:

  • Hormonal imbalances include an increased estrogen/progestin ratio or an increased prolactin level in the blood (naturally occurring a few days before menstruation begins).
  • Gynecological diseases such as fibroids or endometriosis.
  • Psychological factors such as depression, sleep disorders, stress, and traumatic experiences.
  • The diet also plays a role: too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much nicotine and too much sugar consumption can promote premenstrual syndrome as well as poor physical fitness.


PMS: treatment of the syndrome

In general, PMS can be controlled by a balanced diet with an intake of unsaturated fatty acids, abstinence from caffeine, chocolate, nicotine and alcohol and increased physical activity (sufficient exercise). Magnesium, vitamin B6 (in doses of up to 100 mg per day) and zinc have proven themselves as dietary supplements.

To improve the often very unpleasant psychological symptoms of PMS, additional relaxation measures such as yoga or autogenic training can make the “critical days before the days” easier for those affected.

A dry extract of chaste trees is an effective and well-tolerated alternative for women with premenstrual syndrome. A progestin-like effect is attributed to the chaste tree (Agnus castus), which harmonises the hormonal balance. Above all, complaints such as nervousness, irritability, water retention or tension in the breasts respond well to chaste berries. Agnus castus is mainly used in herbal form and is contained in numerous combination preparations that can significantly improve the symptoms.

PMDD: PMS in its most severe form

However, more than 5 per cent of women have such severe symptoms that their quality of life is severely restricted, and they require medical treatment. You suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) the most severe form of PMSDepending on the severity, a wide variety of drugs are used as drug therapy, for example, psychotropic drugs, diuretic drugs, painkillers, but also chaste tree. If massive psychological complaints occur, additional psychological care can also be helpful.

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