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What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

Mood swings, fatigue, tender breasts, weight gain, food cravings… what runs common through these problems is that they affect some women only few days before their monthly period. Yes, this combination of emotional and physical disturbances that women experience before the monthly period is collectively termed as premenstrual syndrome (commonly known as PMS).

Typically starting after the woman has ovulated (which occurs mid-cycle), these symptoms end when the menstruation begins. The fact that these symptoms are cyclic in nature and appear consistently in relation to the menses is a feature characteristic of this condition. The symptoms may occur with varying severity in different women and may even change in intensity from cycle to cycle in case of the same woman.

Premenstrual syndrome commonly affects women between their late twenties and early forties. Almost 75 to 80 % of women experience premenstrual syndrome and it is moderate to severe in almost 20 to 30% of all women. The symptoms can be sufficiently severe to interfere with some aspects of life.

A severe form of PMS is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and this affects about 2-6% women. PMDD leads to significant loss of functions due to unusually severe symptoms. Medical treatment, lifestyle changes, exercise, nutrition, and support from family and friends can help patients to deal effectively with this disorder.

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