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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
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"Understanding more about the monthly blues"
 

Premenstrual syndrome (also called PMS, PMT or premenstrual tension) is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms related to a woman's menstrual cycle. While most women of child-bearing age report having experienced physical symptoms related to normal ovulatory function, such as bloating or breast tenderness, definitions of PMS are defined as a consistent pattern of emotional and physical symptoms occurring only during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle that are of sufficient severity to interfere with some aspects of normal life. In particular, emotional symptoms must be present consistently to diagnose PMS. The specific emotional and physical symptoms attributable to PMS vary from woman to woman, but each individual woman's pattern of symptoms is predictable, occurs consistently during the ten days prior to menses, and vanishes either shortly before or shortly after the start of menstrual flow.

About 2 to 5% of women have significant premenstrual symptoms that are separate from the normal discomfort associated with menstruation in healthy women.

Symptoms

More than 200 different symptoms have been associated with PMS, but the three most prominent symptoms are irritability, tension, and unhappiness. Common emotional and non-specific symptoms include stress, anxiety, difficulty in falling asleep (insomnia), headache, fatigue, mood swings, increased emotional sensitivity, and changes in libido. Formal definitions absolutely require the presence of emotional symptoms as the chief complaint; the presence of exclusively physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, such as bloating, abdominal cramps, constipation, swelling or tenderness in the breasts, cyclic acne, and joint or muscle pain.

The exact symptoms and their intensity vary from woman to woman and even from cycle to cycle. Most women with premenstrual syndrome experience only a few of the possible symptoms, in a relatively predictable pattern. Under typical definitions, symptoms must be present at some point during the ten days immediately before the onset of menses, and must not be present for at least one week between the onset of menses and ovulation. Although the intensity of symptoms may vary somewhat, most definitions require that the woman's unique constellation of symptoms be present in multiple, consecutive cycles.

Common symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome can include:

 

Pain before or with the onset of bleeding

Breast swelling

Fluid retention

Bloating

Weight Gain

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Fatigue

Inability to handle stress

Depression

Headache

Migraine

Food cravings

 

Types of PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome has been sub-divided into 5 categories as follows:

 

PMS A: Symptoms include anxiety, mood swings, nervous tension, irritability, often beginning post ovulation and intensifying a few days before menstruation begins.

 

PMS C: Symptoms include food cravings, increased appetite, headaches, fatigue, dizziness and palpitations.

 

PMS D: Presents as depression and often has associated symptoms of forgetfulness, crying, confusion and insomnia.

 

PMS H: Symptoms include hydration or fluid retention, weight gain, swelling of extremities, abdominal bloating, breast swelling and tenderness.

 

PMS P: The main symptom is a reduced pain threshold. Sufferers of "PMS P" commonly experience abdominal, pelvic and back pain with a heightened pain sensation in general.

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