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PMS – causes, side effects and treatments at

Thursday, June 14, 2018 by

PMS, also called premenstrual syndrome, is the collective term for the various symptoms that women often experience at least several weeks before their period. Most women have PMS at some point in their life.

Not much is known about the exact reason why women go through PMS. However, there are those who believe that the condition is caused by changes in a woman’s hormone levels during the menstrual cycle.

Each woman’s PMS symptoms are different and they can even change every month. The most common symptoms of PMS include mood swings and feeling upset, anxious, or irritable.

Known symptoms and risk factors for PMS

A woman’s menstrual cycle usually lasts about 28 days. Ovulation, or the period when an egg is released from the ovaries, happens on the 14th day of the cycle. Meanwhile, menstruation, or bleeding, takes place on the 28th of the cycle.

The side effects of PMS often manifest by day 14 and they can last at least seven days following the start of menstruation. The side effects of PMS are often mild or moderate, and the journal American Family Physician revealed that about 80 percent of women report one or more side effects that doesn’t significantly affect their daily life.

However, at least 20 to 32 percent of women said moderate to severe symptoms affect some aspect of life. The severity of side effects may vary per person and by month.

The signs and symptoms of PMS usually include:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Fatigue
  • Food cravings (Especially for sweets)
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Sore breasts

Risk factors for PMS may include:

  • Domestic violence
  • Emotional trauma
  • A family history of depression
  • A family history of PMS
  • A history of depression or mood disorders (e.g., postpartum depression or bipolar disorder)
  • Physical trauma
  • Substance abuse

Body systems harmed by PMS

PMS may cause the following complications:

  • Depression
  • Existing medical conditions (e.g., asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraines, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, and systemic lupus erythematosus) may worsen
  • Extreme anger
  • Lack of interest in daily activities
  • Painful cramps
  • Severe anxiety
  • Severe mood swings
  • Substance abuse due to severe depression
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Trouble thinking or focusing

Food items or nutrients that may prevent PMS

The following foods or nutrients can help prevent PMS or address its side effects:

  • Fermented cod liver oil – This supplement contains many of the necessary building blocks for hormone production like vitamins A, D, and K. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial fats.
  • Maca – Maca, a tuber that belongs to the radish family, can help boost hormone production and libido. Women who consume the tuber reported reduced PMS symptoms, increased fertility, and improved skin. Maca is also rich in minerals and essential fatty acids. Take note that the effects of Maca are rather cumulative and results can be seen after three to five weeks of regularly consuming maca.
  • Magnesium – Magnesium supports countless reactions in the body. It can also improve sleep, which is beneficial for the hormones.
  • Red raspberry leaf – A popular fertility herb, red raspberry leaf can also minimize PMS symptoms and cramping. The heard has a high nutrient profile and it is rich in calcium.
  • Vitamin D – Vitamin D is a pre-hormone that aids hormone function. A good source of the vitamin is sunlight or supplements.

Treatments, management plans for PMS

While there is no treatment for PMS, various lifestyle changes can help address its side effects.

Women with a mild or moderate form of PMS can try lifestyle changes such as:

  • Staying hydrated to reduce abdominal bloating.
  • Following a balanced diet to boost overall health and energy level. This includes consuming a lot of fruits and vegetables and minimizing alcohol, caffeine, salt, and sugar intake.
  • Taking supplements (e.g., calcium, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin B-6) to minimize cramps and mood swings.
  • Getting enough sleep at night, or at least eight hours, to reduce fatigue.
  • Exercising regularly to decrease bloating and improve mental health.
  • Reducing stress via exercising and reading.
  • Going to cognitive behavioral therapy.

Where to learn more


PMS, also called premenstrual syndrome, is the collective term for the various symptoms that women may experience at least several weeks before their period.

The side effects of PMS usually include abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, acne, and anxiety.

PMS may cause complications like painful cramps, severe anxiety, and severe mood swings.

Fermented cod liver oil, maca, magnesium, red raspberry leaf, and vitamin D can help prevent PMS or address its side effects.

While there is no treatment for PMS, various lifestyle changes like regular exercise regularly and a healthy diet can help address its side effects.

Sources include


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