Pre-menstrual Syndrome is a common cyclic disorder that affects young and middle aged women. It causes body ache, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, tender breasts, food cravings, weight gain, anxiety, depression etc. On an average, these symptoms appear about 10 to 12 days before the menstrual period. Once the periods starts, the symptoms disappear within 4 days.

Though the true prevalence is unknown, approximately 75 to 80 % of women of reproductive age suffer from this syndrome. PMS also tends to affect the woman’s quality of life.

What is PMDD?

PMDD (Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a more severe form of PMS where both the body and mind are affected. It may cause problems with daily activities, concentration at work, personal relationships or may even lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. On an average, 3 - 8 % women are affected by this condition.

The exact cause of PMS is still unknown, but the imbalance between the hormonal levels (estrogen, progesterone) and the levels of neurotransmitters (serotonin, nor epinephrine, dopamine and endorphin) are thought to be the most likely cause for PMS.

There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose PMS. However, a routine check up of Complete Blood Count (CBC), Blood Sugar status, Thyroid hormones, and vitamin levels like vitamin D, vitamin B12 may be necessary to rule out other health conditions which cause symptoms similar to that of PMS.

Lifestyle improvements to combat PMS symptoms:

1. Dietary modifications. – A balanced diet containing all five food groups recommended by ICMR is the key treatment. Excessive consumption of salty and sugary foods should be avoided.

2. Correction of deficiencies of vitamins (vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin B complex).

3. Correction of mineral deficiencies of calcium, iron and magnesium.

4. At least 150 minutes of exercise per week.

5. To reduce stress and mood swings, minimum 7 hours’ sleep and meditation is essential. It helps in maintaining a hormonal balance.

6. Abstinence from alcohol and caffeine.

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