PMS – causes of premenstrual syndrome and tips for relief!
- September 27, 2018
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that start anywhere from a few days to two weeks before a woman gets her monthly period (menstruation). A woman’s menstrual cycle lasts an average of 28 days. Ovulation, the period when an egg is released from the ovaries, occurs on day 14 of the cycle. Menstruation, or bleeding, occurs on day 28 of the cycle. PMS symptoms can begin around day 14 and last until seven days after the start of menstruation.
Symptoms of PMS fall into two general categories:
While often used as an idiom of distress, PMS can be a debilitating condition affecting women’s daily function. According to a journal (called American Family Physician), the symptoms affect up to 85 percent of menstruating women. 20-33% of women report moderate to severe symptoms that affect some aspect of their life. In this study, 3-8% reported severe depression, irritability, and tension before menstruation, defined as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS with more psychological symptoms. Another study reported that women in their 30s are more likely to have PMS, for reasons as elusive as its cause.
What causes the menstrual symptoms.
What causes premenstrual syndrome is not completely clear as research has not supported a simple excess or deficit of a hormone as a reason behind these symptoms. It appears that a woman’s response to the collective hormonal changes affects the way the chemicals in their brain (or neurotransmitters) function, thereby leading to the characteristic psychological as well as physical PMS symptoms. PMS can also be hereditary and the symptoms can be passed on from mothers to their daughters. Our lifestyle may also play a significant role in PMS.
Symptoms of PMS
Tissues in our body are sensitive to the hormone levels that change throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. Studies suggest that rising and falling levels of hormones – like estrogen and progesterone – may influence other hormones and neurotransmitters, as they all work in a concerted fashion.
What happens when oestrogen levels rise:
On day 14th of our cycle, oestrogen levels drop and progesterone levels start to rise.
What happens when oestrogen levels drop:
What happens when progesterone levels increase:
Other Lifestyle Causes
PMS symptoms appear to be most troubling in women who smoke, lead stressful lives, rarely exercise, sleep too little, have a diet high in Caffeine, Alcohol, Salt, Red meat and Sugary foods. However, it’s not clear whether these factors increase your risk of PMS or if PMS accounts for these differences in lifestyle. For example, it is more likely that PMS causes stress rather than that stress causes PMS.
Relieve your PMS symptoms with these evidence-based tips
Get enough sleep
Avoid caffeine, nicotine and alcohol
Practise stress-relieving techniques
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
PMS symptoms can recur, but they typically go away after the start of menstruation. A healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet can reduce the symptoms for most women.