What is premenstrual tension syndrome (Premenstrual syndrome, PMS)?

As menstrual bleeding approaches, 75% of women experience some complaints due to varying hormone levels. In half of these women, complaints are mild and do not affect the person’s daily life. In the other half, much more serious complaints occur, including depression. Premenstrual complaints can be physiological or psychological and may be affected by cultural differences. PMS is the combination of both physiological and psychological events.


What complaints do women with premenstrual tension syndrome have?

Studies show that different complaints occur in women from different cultures. While the most common complaint in women from the Far East is pain, depression is the most common finding in developed western societies. Complaints that negatively affect the social life of the person and are seen every month may even cause the woman to lose her self-confidence.


What are the physical symptoms?

Almost all women with PMS symptoms have breast tenderness and slight temporary weight gain. Other symptoms include digestive system disorders, headache, rashes, muscle and joint pain, weakness, gum bleeding, palpitations, balance disorders, hot flashes, excessive sensitivity to sounds and smells, agitation, insomnia. Painful or excessive menstrual bleeding, that is, dysmenorrhea is not considered PMS.


What are her emotional symptoms?

Emotional hypersensitivity is very common in PMS. There are many different moods, from depression to anxiety and extreme irritability. Some women may experience mild memory loss. Concentration impairment is not uncommon in PMS. The depression, restlessness and tension seen in some women is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).



Causes of PMS?

Studies to find the causes of PMS have not been able to fully reveal the underlying factors of this picture. However, there are some theories. If some hormones that suppress ovulation are given, PMS symptoms regress. Accordingly, reproductive hormones can cause PMS, but this role has not been explained. There are strong findings that PMS occurs as a result of the joint action of these hormones and some substances that provide transmission in the nerves. The most blamed substances are those called GABA and serotonin. Some researchers believe that the disturbance in calcium and magnesium balance causes PMS picture. The distribution of these two minerals in the body can affect the communication between nerve cells and cause the picture. These researchers suggest that women with PMS have complaints of magnesium deficiency or excess calcium. Another cause of PMS is stress hormones. Excess of these hormones may cause more intense complaints. Almost all hormones and substances secreted in the body are blamed in the etiology of PMS. However, no proven cause has been found.


Who is more likely to get PMS?

PMS is a condition encountered in all cultures all over the world. In a study, 88% of women had PMS findings at different levels. As the age increases, the severity of the complaints decreases, but the violence increases with the number of children. Complaints are also more common in women with PMS in their mothers. PMS can also increase the severity of some diseases. For example, most of the attacks in women with migraine coincide with the premenstrual period. Again, in diabetic patients, blood sugar levels and insulin need vary in the premenstrual period. Asthma attacks are more common and many chronic diseases exacerbate. During this period, the person’s harmony with his environment deteriorates and his / her relationships with the people he / she has relationships with at work or at home and his / her children may deteriorate. Suicidal tendencies may increase in adolescent girls. Eating disorders may be encountered.



How is PMS diagnosed?

The diagnosis of PMS is not based on positive findings. The most reliable way for diagnosis is to record complaints for 2-3 months and to score their severity. Complaints should be separated physically and mentally and when they started and when they ended should be recorded regularly.


What is the method to follow in PMS treatment?

Since the cause of PMS is not known exactly, its treatment is not certain. There are many different treatment approaches in this regard.

Diet: There are reports that eating small and frequent meals reduces complaints. It can sometimes be beneficial to consume fresh fruits and vegetables in the premenstrual period, avoid red meat and frozen fats, and not consume foods containing additives. Likewise, it may be beneficial to reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption.

Exercise: One study found that PMS is more common in women who do not exercise. A 30-minute walk every day can be helpful.

Calcium and Magnesium: There is a study reporting that a daily calcium intake of 1200 mg reduces the complaints by half at the end of 3 months. Some women have benefited from magnesium supplements. However, there are no definitive findings yet.

Vitamins: Although it has been suggested that vitamins A, E and B6 cause PMS, there is no definitively proven finding.

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