It is estimated that as many as 95 percent of all women suffer to some degree from premenstrual syndrome, better known as PMS. While the condition was originally scoffed at, today it’s an accepted disorder and it has become a household term.
There are several possible theories about the causes of PMS, including fluctuations in blood sugar levels, vitamin or mineral deficiencies and hormonal imbalances. Educating patients in addition to continuing research on PMS still needs to be done.
PMS is most likely to occur in your 30s, but can develop in adolescence and last almost until menopause. A wide variety of symptoms can be present including abdominal bloating, anxiety, irritability, fatigue and food cravings.
The Harvard Women’s Health Watch reports that calcium and magnesium may be effective PMS remedies. A large study of about 500 women found that those who took 1,200 mg of calcium daily had significantly fewer PMS symptoms at the end of three months. Another study found that 200 mg magnesium daily diminished water retention after two months.
According to M. T., M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with the Health Alliance, “Calcium is a great place to start to relieve menstrual symptoms. Begin by taking a calcium supplement on your own. If that doesn’t help, consult your health care provider.”
To determine if you have PMS consider:
- Do the same symptoms occur each month?
- Do symptoms improve or disappear when bleeding begins?
- Do you have at least one symptom-free week per month?
Keep a diary of your symptoms. Here are some helpful hints to get you through the rough times:
- Eat healthy foods. Try to avoid junk foods high in sugar, caffeine, fat and salt.
- Get some exercise.
- Try relaxation techniques such as yoga and deep breathing.
- Be good to yourself. Pamper yourself with enjoyable, relaxing activities and people.
- Join a support group.
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