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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)


Although definitions of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) vary, it is generally described as a cyclic problem, followed by a period of time with no symptoms. Symptoms are generally seen 7 to 10 days before the menstrual period begins and can vary in severity from cycle to cycle. These symptoms usually go away soon after the onset of the period. premenstrual syndrome symptoms include headaches, mood disturbances, constipation, food cravings, weight gain, and breast tenderness. In fact, it seems that women in traditional societies don't suffer from it, however it is common among women in industrial societies. This suggests that a large part of the syndrome is culturally mediated and the result of certain lifestyle factors. Some evidence suggests that stress may also be a factor in premenstrual syndrom (PMS). Another hypothesis is that it is related to dietary factors, such as calcium intake.

Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include menstrual cramping which results because of drop in the level of blood calcium. When blood calcium levels drop symptoms include muscle cramps, headaches, body aches, sleeplessness, water retention and depression. In menstruating women, blood calcium levels can begin to fall off about 10 days prior to the start of the menstrual period. Calcium supplements or foods containing calcium and herbs are important ways to prevent PMS.

Diet and Premenstrual Syndrom (PMS)
Your diet causes a great influence on your body and your physical and emotional balance before your periods. As stated earlier PMS symptoms include headaches, mood disturbances, constipation, food cravings, weight gain, depression, sleeplessness and muscle cramps. Most experts recommend that women with premenstrual syndrome start by avoiding caffeine and alcohol, which can aggravate headaches, anxiety, and depression. It's also a good idea to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Some studies have found that eating more carbohydrates in the middle of your cycle can help relieve depression, tension, confusion, and fatigue. Eating starchy foods like potatoes and crackers can boost your level of serotonin, a brain chemical linked to mood. Calcium intake is also important to reduce cramps, body ache, headache, sleeplessness, water retention and depression. Some foods and herbs that have a good amount of easily assimilated calcium are yogurt, sesame seeds, spinach, parsley, alfalfa, oat straw, and nettle.

Exercise and Premenstrual Syndrom (PMS)
A few studies have found that regular exercise can ease some of the pain and stress that you may have each month during the week or two leading up to your period. Exercise boosts your metabolism and improves your circulation. When you get your blood moving, it carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells more efficiently, so you feel less sluggish. But don't go overboard; extremely vigorous workouts (such as doing step aerobics for two hours a day) may aggravate rather than relieve some symptoms. Aerobic activity can also produce brain chemicals known as endorphins that boost your mood and which will help ease the anxiety, depression, and mood swings you may experience each month. Moderate aerobic activities like walking, jogging, biking, and swimming for about 30 minutes five times a week may be your best bet. Yoga can also be helpful and can help ease muscle tension, focus your mind, and decrease moodiness. See our Yoga section for Asanas that will help you deal with menstrual problems.

The contents of this Web site are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be used for medical advice. You should consult your physician or your family doctor immediately with any problem about which you are concerned.

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