Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as the presence of physical and emotional symptoms prior to the beginning of a woman’s menstrual period. These symptoms typically appear up to five days before her period starts and happen for at least three menstrual cycles in a row and generally interfere with some of her normal activities. Emotional symptoms can include depression, irritability, crying or anger spells, confusion, poor concentration, and insomnia. Physical symptoms may include thirst and appetite changes, food cravings, bloating, headache, fatigue, skin problems, and abdominal pain. Regardless of the combination of symptoms, PMS is a medical condition that deserves the attention of a qualified physician.
Depression and anxiety are the conditions that most commonly overlap with PMS, although chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome can also present with similar symptoms. The major difference between the depression or anxiety and PMS is that depression and anxiety are present for more than just a few days before a woman’s period.
Yes. Mild to moderate symptoms can be alleviated with regular aerobic exercise, getting enough sleep, and changes in diet. Patients should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes on most days of the week to see the greatest reduction in PMS symptoms. Eating calcium-rich foods while reducing caffeine, alcohol, fat, and sugars can reduce many symptoms as well. Taking calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E supplements can alleviate many mood, bloating, and breast tenderness symptoms. In some cases where PMS symptoms are severe, where diet and exercise are not enough to alleviate most symptoms, or where Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is diagnosed, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) may be prescribed.
There is no reason to needlessly suffer from PMS symptoms. Contact Newport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group, Inc. for a consultation today to discuss treatment options.
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