What is PMS?
It is a fairly common thing that most women face one or more physical or emotional discomforts in the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms start about 7 to 10 days before a woman gets her monthly menses and typically end with the onset of her menstrual flow. Often these symptoms are mild, but if they become severe enough, it substantially affects their daily activities. For some women, this premenstrual phase can become difficult to cope up with because of changes in their mood, behavioral symptoms, and some physical distress. Medical terminology for this is “premenstrual syndrome” (PMS), and some even call it “premenstrual tension” (PMT). About 8-10% women suffer from this.
The Physical and Emotional Side of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
PMS has both physical and psychological sets of symptoms. Let’s take a look at physical signs and symptoms
- Breast tenderness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Joint pain, or pain all over the body
- Change in appetite – increased cravings towards sweet and salty food.
- Improper Sleep
- Pain in Abdomen
Emotional PMS symptoms include
- Anger and irritability
- Avoiding social contact
Commonly these emotional symptoms are bundled together under the term “mood swings”.
Causes of PMS
It is not clear what exactly causes PMS. Various psycho-social and biological factors are thought to play a role. But a clear picture about the exact causes is yet to be defined. PMS could also depend on several other factors, such as psycho-social stress, cultural influences, how a woman feels about her own body, food, or other medical conditions. Cultural influences also seem to play a role, as the mood swings associated with PMS are common in Western cultures. The severity of PMS varies from woman to woman and tend to change over time. It is impossible to predict how the symptoms of PMS will develop.
Getting PMS under Control
For many women, lifestyle changes may provide relief from PMS symptoms. A healthy lifestyle includes regular exercise and a healthy diet. This is the 1st step towards managing PMS. For many women with mild symptoms, change in lifestyle approach is sufficient enough to control their symptoms.
Exercise increases the production of natural endorphins in the brain, which improves the mood. Exercise is also very important for maintaining good physical health. Yoga helps to release muscle tension and regulates breathing. Relaxation techniques, including meditation, may also help to reduce stress during this phase.
Emotional support during the PMS phase plays an important part to cope up with the mood swings. Talking to a partner, parents or just friends help overcome their depression and anxiety.
Calcium is one of the dietary supplements that has been studied extensively for its benefits towards women suffering from PMS. A study showed that calcium supplementation with 500 milligrams of carbonate when taken twice a day, significantly improved appetite changes and depression symptoms. 
PMS needs physical and psychological intervention. Knowing about it and staying awakened towards it will help ease the symptoms. The combination of lifestyle change, emotional support, and proper supplementation help women to ease the PMS stress.
Article Credits – Dr. Aniket Jadhav