Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a term used to refer to a variety of symptoms that many women go through prior to their menstrual period. Roughly 85 percent women of child-bearing age verify of experiencing physical symptoms associated to normal ovulatory function. Medical descriptions of PMS are restricted to a consistent pattern of emotional and physical symptoms that occur only during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle that are of enough severity to intervene with few aspects of life. The particular emotional and physical symptoms vary from woman to woman, however each woman's pattern of symptoms is obvious and occurs regularly during the ten days before menses. The symptom disappears either soon before or soon after the commencement of menstrual flow. Two to ten percent of women experience critical premenstrual symptoms that are different from the usual distress associated with menstruation in healthy women.

Signs and Symptoms of PMS

Over 200 different symptoms have been linked to PMS however the three major symptoms are irritability, tension, and dysphoria or unhappiness. Usual emotional and non-specific symptoms include stress, anxiety, difficulty in falling asleep or insomnia, headache, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity and changes in libido. Formal descriptions of PMS utterly require the existence of emotional symptoms as the principal complaint; the existence of solely physical symptoms linked with the menstrual cycle such as bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation, swelling or tenderness in the breasts, cyclic acne and joint or muscle pain is not taken into account, regardless of how disrupting these physical symptoms are.

The precise symptoms and their intensity differ greatly from woman to woman and also to some extent from cycle to cycle. The majority of women with premenstrual syndrome suffer only a few of the probable symptoms, in a comparatively expected pattern. For instance, one woman suffering from PMS may show symptoms such as anxiety and stressed for three or four days prior to commencement of her menstrual period and she will show same symptoms with only small variations each cycle such as being fairly more tense or less tense than in earlier cycles.

Women with PMS do not suffer from entirely different symptoms each cycle, for example anxiety with one cycle, despair the next, irritation in the subsequent cycle and so forth. Every woman with PMS experiences her own individual pattern of symptoms. Whereas one woman might be restless and stressed, another woman might feel depressed and tearful for two days each cycle and another woman might discover that she is easily aggravated by problems that she usually thinks minor. Each woman's symptoms pattern, even though varied from what other women with PMS go through, will be fairly predictable and persistent for the woman who experiences it.

Under classic definitions, symptoms must exist at some point during the ten days soon before the commencement of menses and must not exist for at least one week between the commencement of menses and ovulation. Even though the intensity of symptoms may fluctuate a bit, most definitions involve that the woman's exclusive collection of symptoms be present in numerous, successive cycles.

Risk Factors associated with PMS

Excessive caffeine intake
Stress may worsen condition
Increasing age
History of depression
Dietary factors such as low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium, manganese, zinc, Vitamin E and Vitamin D

There may be a hereditary aspect to the likelihood of having premenstrual syndrome. It has been discovered that the probability of both identical twins getting affected from PMS is greater than the probability with fraternal twins.  In other words, if one twin is suffering from PMS, then possibility of the other twin to have PMS is more likely than average, indicating to a genetic factor.

Vital Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Avoid PMS

There is a high chance of PMS symptoms to occur soon before, during, and/or soon after menstrual cycle if the lifestyle and diet are not optimum. Symptoms can include bad temper, stress, mood swings, depression, bloating, cramping, migraines, breast tenderness, lower back pains and abnormal food yearnings. A more severe type of PMS is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which leads to signs such as a deep, disabling depression, low self-esteem, with crying episodes and difficulty in concentrating. There are several measures that can aid in avoiding PMS or at least minimize it.

Things to Avoid

Avoid smoking, alcohol, sugar, carbonated sodas, refined carbohydrates, and caffeine – Avoid all these things to a possible extent and drink more fluoride free water.
Avoid all non-fermented soy products as they are associated with hormonal disharmony.
Avoid all junk foods and processed foods - Eat organic food and include greens and cruciferous veggies, nuts, whole grains and dry beans in your daily diet.
Avoid any type of heat processed trans-fatty acid hydrogenated oils and Canola oil.

Essential Vitamins and Nutrients

Calcium - Deficiency of calcium may worsen PMS symptoms. It is recommended to consume 1,200 mg of calcium every day through dietary and supplemental sources to lessen physical and psychological symptoms of PMS including cramps, joint pain and mood swings.

Magnesium - Magnesium is a mineral that sustains organ function, bone and tooth health, absorption of calcium and production of energy. According to the research conducted by University of Maryland Medical Center, an association is found between magnesium intake and mood swings related with PMS. Thus, women experiencing PMS symptoms should attain this nutrient prior to the commencement of menstruation. Incorporating a variety of foods that contain the nutrient such as halibut, bananas, figs, barley, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, almonds, artichokes, tomato paste and most beans is essential. The recommended amount is about 280 to 300 milligrams every day. Include a variety of grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts into the diet for best results.

Riboflavin – According to a research, eating riboflavin-rich foods considerably alleviates risk of PMS. Intake of riboflavin can be increased with intake of nuts, eggs and green vegetables.

Vitamin D - It is vital to intake sufficient amounts of vitamin D during PMS as it helps the body absorb calcium. It is recommended to take 400 IU daily along with calcium. A study suggested that women who consumed high amounts of dietary calcium and vitamin D experiences reduced PMS symptoms.

Vitamin B6 – It is suggested that intake of vitamin B6 is a helpful dietary tool toward decreasing PMS symptoms as studies report that proper intake of the nutrient may lower symptoms by up to 50 percent. The suggested intake is 40 to 400 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily. Good sources of B vitamins are meat, poultry, low-fat dairy products, eggs and whole grains. Whole grains, such as oats, bran, rye, spelt and whole wheat offer several vitamins and minerals which may support mood swings and prevent PMS too.

Vitamin E - Although women going through PMS have sufficient levels of vitamin E, some women feel relieved after taking extra doses of the vitamin. According to, the suggested intake of 400 international units of vitamin E daily may reduce PMS symptoms, such as abdominal pain and depression.

Healthy fats – Healthy fats are vital, especially omega-3 fatty acids that aid in maintaining emotional stability and mental clarity. Sources of Omega-3 are ground organic flax, chia seeds and fish or krill oils. Fish oils should come from pure cold waters and should be refrigerated. Cold pressed organic coconut oil, olive oil, hemp oil, and some other oils that are virgin cold pressed are good sources of healthy fats.

Fermented soy is very effective at regulating estradiol levels for women suffering from PMS - a condition caused by fluctuating hormone levels.

Herbs useful in PMS

Chasteberry: Vitex berry, Vitex agnus castus, or chaste tree is the plant that grows in the Mid-East and Asia, and the remedial is extracted from its dried fruit. Vitex is not a hormonal essence and it aids in increasing progesterone by instigating the discharge of a luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland, which further stimulates the ovaries. Vitex is also believed to regularize excessive prolactin levels and encourage fertility.
Primrose Oil: Studies reveal that evening primrose oil is an extremely useful treatment for depression and irritability, breast pain and tenderness, and the fluid retention linked with PMS.
Licorice is specifically helpful in treating PMS. PMS has been characterized with increase in the estrogen-to-progesterone ratio. Licorice is thought to lower estrogen levels while concurrently increasing progesterone levels.
An ordinary Chinese copyright formula containing Angelica sinensis root (Xiao Yao Powder) has been found to reduce symptoms of PMS.
A simple tea made of raspberry leaves or squaw vine is useful in delayed periods or excessive menstrual bleeding. For excessive bleeding, one also may use a tincture of fresh shepherd's purse.
Black cohosh aids in reducing menstrual cramps by comforting the smooth muscles of the uterus. While it does not have powerful antispasmodic effect, it can help ease the cramping linked with premenstrual syndrome and dysmenorrhea (painful menses).
Lavender is used throughout the world to heal severe burns, cuts, leg ulcers, bruises and skin irritations. There is also broad recognition of lavender for headache reduction, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and stress.
Parsley is a good diuretic and is helpful against the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It also works as an antiaging agent.
Suma is very useful for women in cases of anemia, fatigue and even premenstrual syndrome to some extent.
Kava is excellent medicine for anxiety arising from stress, mild depression, a phobia, premenstrual syndrome or menopause. It also helps with insomnia when anxiety is the cause of sleeplessness.

Yoga in PMS- Yoga means merger or connecting with the sacred self or combining body’s natural energies to create a more synergistic individual. It is the bodily practice of positioning into diverse postures or asanas to help unite physical energies and remove stress.

Butterfly Pose: Relieves tension in the hips.
Wide-Legged Child's Pose: Relieves lower pack pain.
Happy Baby Pose: Relieves lower back pain and cramps.
Camel Pose: Relieves abdominal tension.
Down Dog Pose: It gets the blood flowing to your head, which can ease mood swings or sad feelings associated with PMS.