Getting Real With Premenstrual Syndrome

Do you believe premenstrual syndrome is a myth or just in the “heads” of those who complain about it? Read on, to get a better understanding of premenstrual syndrome so that it can become more real to you and perhaps you can be more compassionate the next time someone talks about the PMS symptoms they are experiencing.

The syndrome itself is a tricky one for doctors to diagnose. The signs and symptoms can vary and can change from mild to severe from month to month. Approximately 3 out of every 4 menstruating women experience mild, moderate or severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These women are typically in their late 20s, 30s or early 40s. The symptoms they experience usually follow some pattern. If untreated PMS can control the life of the women who experience PMS.

There are treatments even of there is no known cause for the suffering PMS dumps on the women it inflicts. The treatments vary from lifestyle changes to over-the-counter medications to natural remedies.

Common signs and symptoms of PMS that are emotional or behavioral in nature are anger, anxiety or tension, depression, crying spells, moos swings, irritability, appetite changes and food cravings, insomnia, social withdrawal, and poor concentration.

Common signs and symptoms of PMS that are physical signs and symptoms of PMS include muscle or joint pain, headaches even migraines, fatigue, weight gain, abdominal cramping or bloating, breast tenderness, acne flare-ups, diarrhea or constipation.

Typically women with PMS only experience a few of the symptoms listed above. The pain and emotional stress that goes along with PMS is real and for many women until treatment is started they can take over their life causing havoc at work, school and even in relationships. The signs and symptoms appear as the ovulation phase of the cycle occurs and ends with the blood starts to flow each month.

A small percentage of women with these symptoms actually experience a more severe form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. A woman with PMDD can experience severe depression, deep feelings of hopelessness, anger, or anxiety. She may have extreme feelings of low self-esteem during this period of time, and have a very difficult time concentrating. She may be extremely irritable or full of tension. Many women with PMDD also have underlying psychiatric disorders.

A woman experiencing PMS or PMDD should seek medical help if her symptoms have not abated with lifestyle changes, or over-the-counter medications. If her signs and symptoms are serious or affect her health and disrupt her daily activities she should definitely see a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

Her doctor has no specific laboratory test that can diagnosis PMS or PMDD but instead the doctor will rely on physical examination, medical history and symptom history to make the diagnosis. The doctor may run some laboratory tests to rule out other medical diseases or disorders. The doctor may ask the woman to keep a symptom journal for a cycle or two in order to get a clearer picture of the signs and symptoms she is experiencing.

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