Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that affects over 75% of menstruating women. For most women the symptoms are mild, but a small proportion find that their symptoms become so severe that it disrupts their home and working lives.
There are over 100 recognised symptoms of PMS, however most women only experience a handful of them. The most common symptoms are:
Diagnosis of PMS is based on the type of symptoms and when they occur. The symptoms of PMS are fairly consistent with the start and end of a period.
To help diagnose PMS, it is useful for the sufferer to keep a diary of their symptoms and their severity over a few consecutive months.
It is not known what causes PMS but it is linked to the fluctuating levels of hormones experienced after ovulation. It is not understood why some women are more affected by PMS than others.
There are a number of treatments for PMS including hormonal and non-hormonal treatments as well as medication.
Vitamin B6 can help reduce irritability and mood swings. Evening Primrose oil is known to help reduce breast tenderness associated with PMS and Diuretics may give relief from water retention. In severe cases the combined contraceptive pill is prescribed as it helps reduce the symptoms due to the hormones contained in the pill which help regulate the natural hormones in the body.
If your symptoms are severe and affect your work, daily life and relationships, you should consult your doctor.