Understanding What PMS Means

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is what doctors call what a woman goes through if she has a group of symptoms that start up approximately 14 days before her monthly menstruation.

Typically most women will have some kind of mild discomfort before their menstruation begins. If a woman has PMS however, she also feels anxious, depressed or experiences other emotional or mental symptoms along with physical symptoms. Her symptoms can vary from month to month regarding which symptoms she has as well as the intensity of the symptoms.

Common PMS symptoms include acne, back pain, bloated abdomen, changes in appetite which could also be food cravings, constipation, crying spells, depression, having a fast heartbeat, being irritable, feeling anxious, feeling tense, feeling tired, experiencing headaches or migraines, having hot flashes, joint pain, mood swings, a change in how she feels about sex, breasts that are tender or swollen, trouble concentrating, trouble sleeping, hands and feet that are swollen, she may wish to be left alone and also weight gain.

You may be wondering what causes PMS? As of today, there is no definite cause for PMS as determined by researchers or scientists. Stress or psychological problems have not been determined to cause PMS but they have been noted to make PMS symptoms worse.

You may also be wondering how PMS is diagnosed?

When you call to make a medical appointment to receive a diagnosis your doctor or someone on the medical staff may ask you to start keeping a symptom diary. This symptom diary will help your doctor to arrive at a diagnosis. The diary should include the symptoms you experience, how long they last, what date in your menstrual cycle they occur, how the symptoms affects your life and how severe the symptom feels to you.

In order to make the diagnosis the doctor may also do a physical examination to rule out other conditions or diseases that may have the same or similar symptoms as you are experiencing.

If you are diagnosed with PMS there are several different treatments that are based upon the symptoms you are having.

Antidepressants are usually prescribed if you are feeling anxious or depressed. Diuretics are prescribed if your body needs help getting rid of extra sodium or fluid. If you are experiencing bloating, weight gain, or breast tenderness you may receive relief from these symptoms by taking a diuretic.

Some doctors prescribe birth control pills when women have PMS in order to regulate the menstrual hormones and give the woman some relief from symptoms.

There are over the counter medications that you can purchase without a prescription such as Advil, Motrin or Nuprin for pain, Midol, Pamprin, or Premsyn PMS for other PMS symptoms.

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