Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition which causes physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms in a regular pattern during the second half of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms disappear when the periods start and return again before the next period.
Most women find it useful to record their symptoms in a diary over a couple of months to determine whether there is a pattern. Common symptoms include bloating, headaches, breast discomfort, low mood, mood swings, anxiety, aggression. It is important to differentiate these cyclical symptoms from those that are always present e.g. in some cases of depression.
Initial treatment for PMS is based on lifestyle changes such as taking regular exercise, stopping smoking, restricting alcohol intake, reducing known stress factors, trying to have regular and sufficient sleep and having regular meals rich in complex carbohydrates.
For some women, treatment which stops ovulation is required such as the contraceptive pill. Other women benefit from cognitive behavioural therapy.
A small proportion of women ultimately need more specialized care. If you feel your PMS is interfering with your ability to function either at home or work, please discuss this with your GP or local Sandyford clinic staff.