It is estimated that around four out of five women suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the associated symptoms that can make everyday life a real pain in the period leading up to your period.
The following explains the typical symptoms of PMS and what you can do to relieve your symptoms.
The most important facts about PMS at a glance
- Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS for short, occurs before menstruation and causes a variety of symptoms in affected women.
- Typical physical symptoms of PMS include pain in the abdomen, back and breasts.
- PMS can also cause psychological problems such as mood swings and sleep disturbances.
- PMS is thought to be caused by hormonal fluctuations and an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Moderate symptoms of PMS can usually be managed well with changes in daily life and various medicinal plants.
- If the PMS symptoms are very severe, treatment with various medicines may be useful.
What is PMS?
The abbreviation PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. It is a term for physical and psychological problems that can occur in women up to two weeks before their period starts.
Once menstruation starts, PMS symptoms disappear on their own for the duration of the period and the time afterwards, until they reappear during the next menstrual cycle. For many women, the symptoms start so regularly that their occurrence can even be used to reliably calculate the start of the next period.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
The symptoms that women with PMS experience can vary. For some, they are mild, but for others, they can make the days leading up to their period a real ordeal and interfere with their daily life.
Regardless of this, PMS can cause not only physical symptoms, but also psychological problems.
The physical symptoms of PMS include:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Back pain
- Tight and painful breasts
- Hot flushes
- Loss of appetite or cravings
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Skin blemishes
The psychological symptoms of PMS include:
- Mood swings
- Depressed mood
- Inner restlessness
- Sleep problems
- Lack of drive
- Concentration problems
What causes PMS?
The exact causes of premenstrual syndrome are still unclear. However, it is assumed that PMS is triggered by an interplay of different factors.
The hormones progesterone, oestrogen and prolactin probably play a particularly important role. These are subject to fluctuations during the female cycle, which can be responsible for various symptoms of PMS.
In addition, low melatonin levels, hypothyroidism and an unhealthy lifestyle with a lot of stress, too little exercise and an unhealthy diet can probably also contribute to PMS symptoms in women.
If you think you may be suffering from PMS, we recommend that you see your gynaecologist promptly. The gynaecologist will ask you to tell her exactly what your symptoms are and when they start. She will also examine you.
After all, symptoms like pain in the lower abdomen can be triggered not only by PMS, but also by endometriosis and various organic diseases. It is therefore essential to rule these out first before discussing how to proceed.
It is very likely that a blood test will be carried out as part of the diagnostic process, which can provide important information about the nature and cause of your symptoms.
Period slipsHow is PMS treated?
The treatment you need can vary depending on the severity of your PMS symptoms.
If your symptoms are mild, it may be enough to make some simple lifestyle changes.
The following measures in particular can help you to counteract your PMS symptoms:
- Make sure you get enough sleep in the future.
- Don't get stressed all the time and learn to say no sometimes.
- Keep moving and exercise regularly.
- Try to relieve your symptoms with relaxation exercises.
- Eat a balanced diet with moderate amounts of salt and carbohydrates.
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Drink less coffee and prefer hot tea instead.
In addition, for PMS symptoms such as cramps in the lower abdomen, supplementing with certain micronutrients, such as magnesium, which is known for its antispasmodic effects, can help in many cases. Your gynaecologist will be happy to advise you on this.
Relieving PMS symptoms with medicinal plants
In addition to the above tips for changing your lifestyle, there are also several medicinal plants that can help relieve the symptoms of PMS, at least to some extent.
These include monk's pepper, for example, which is regularly recommended for menstrual irregularities and PMS symptoms because of the effect it is said to have on hormone balance. Apart from that, you can also try valerian or St. John's wort, depending on the symptoms. Just ask at the pharmacy or your gynaecologist which preparations are useful and how to use them properly.
Treating PMS symptoms with medication
If your PMS symptoms are very severe, it is possible that things like exercising more, getting more sleep and eating a healthy diet are not enough to control your symptoms.
In this case, you will probably need to take medication. Depending on the symptoms you are experiencing, PMS medication may include painkillers, antidepressants or hormone supplements. For women with premenstrual syndrome who have a lot of water retention, it is also common to take a diuretic.
Please note that it is important to check with your gynaecologist if you are taking any medication to relieve your PMS symptoms. Do not try to find a suitable medication on your own. After all, even supposedly harmless, over-the-counter preparations like simple painkillers can be harmful to your health if you use them for a long time. You should therefore only use them when it is really necessary.
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Our conclusion on PMS
As you can see, there's a lot you can do about your PMS symptoms. If you suffer from PMS symptoms, you don't have to just accept them.
With a bit of luck, taking better care of yourself, getting more sleep, exercising regularly and eating a more balanced diet may be enough. If the symptoms associated with PMS are very severe, you can of course ask your gynaecologist for advice on medication if you need it.