Why am I crazy before periods?

If you are feeling some changes in you let it be physical, emotional or mood disturbance before your periods then you might be suffering from premenstrual stress or syndrome (PMS). It affects menstruating woman at any age.

For some women it just monthly bother and not very difficult to handle but for some it could be so tough that it needs intervention.

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome is wide range of physical and psychological symptoms occurring before your periods starts. These symptoms may occur 1 or 2 weeks before menstruation (period) and these are not due to any physical or psychiatric illness.

You will feel better after period starts and symptoms disappear when period ends.

When the symptoms are moderate to severe these are called PMS but symptoms if more than severe then it is called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

What causes PMS?

Cause of PMS is unknown but following one or more factors may be included.

  • Changes in hormonal levels– It is linked with changing hormone levels due to menstrual cycle. Levels of female sex hormones Estrogen and Progesterone vary throughout menstrual cycle. PMS is related to cyclical fluctuation of Estrogen and progesterone and their effect on neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain)
  • Water retention in the body
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Prostaglandin Impact 
  • Psychological and psychogenic effects

Risk factors for PMS

There are many factors which do not cause PMS but can worsen it are

  • Women in their late 20’s and early 40’s.
  • Nutritional deficiency-Many vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids are involved  in helping to ease PMS
  • Weight and Physical activity –Likelihood of PMS is more in women who are obese and have less physical activity.
  • Stress-it seen more in women who are under physical or emotional stress.
  • Having other physical illnesses.
  • Consumption of excessive alcohol, caffeine and salty food.
  • Smoking.
  • PMS occurs more often in women who:
    • Have had at least one child.
    • Have a family history of depression.
    • Have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorder

What are the symptoms of PMS?

Presentation and severity of PMS vary with woman to woman and may be different every time.

Symptoms of PMS can be as follows but it is not necessary all of them occur at the same time and are sane in all women

Physical Symptoms

  • Bloating
  • Headache or backache
  • Acne
  • Cramps
  • Tender breasts
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Low tolerance to light or noise
  • Craving for certain food
  • Feeling tired
  • Change in appetite
  • Difficulty in sleeping etc.

Psychological symptoms

  • Anger outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Social withdrawal
  • Tension or anxiety
  • Trouble with concentration or memory
  • Feeling of sadness
  • Crying spells
  • Reduced interest in sex etc.

How the PMS is diagnosed?

There are no laboratory investigations needed to diagnose PMS. From your symptoms and its time of occurrence and how much it affects your life, your doctor will diagnose PMS.

Doctor may diagnose you having PMS if you have few of these symptoms and fulfilling following criteria.

  • Occurring five days before your period for at least three menstrual cycles in a row
  • Relieved within 4 days of the onset of periods
  • You are not on any pharmacologic therapy, hormone therapy or drug or alcohol use
  • They refrain you from social or economic performance.

How do I get rid of PMS?

PMS can be managed in many ways. If the symptoms are mild to moderate and not associated with any other illness you can help yourself by doing following changes in your lifestyle

  • Take over the counter NSAIDS pain reliever like paracetamol or ibuprofen for headache, cramps, backache etc.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet most of the time with lots of fruits, vegetable, wholegrains, dairy and pulses.
  • Avoid processed meat.
  • Avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, smoking and alcohol.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Find healthy way to reduce stress talk to somebody close about stress, cultivate hobbies.
  • Go for Yoga, meditation.
  • Along with the modern medicine Homeopathic medicine and Ayurveda Medicine has very good results in dealing with PMS.
  • Keep record of your symptoms so that you can show it to your doctor for better managementof PMS.

Consult your doctor if

  • Symptoms are not relieved by Lifestyle Modification
  • If your symptoms are affecting your daily life significantly.


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