Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) encompasses a vast array of psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, loss of conﬁdence and mood swings. There are also physical symptoms, typically bloatedness and breast pain. It is the timing, rather than the types of symptoms, and the degree of impact on a woman’s daily activity that supports a diagnosis of PMS.
Four in ten women (40%) experience symptoms of PMS and of these 5% – 8% suffer from severe PMS. Although the cause remains uncertain, it is assumed that some women are ‘sensitive’ to progesterone and progestogens. The second theory implicates the neurotransmitters serotonin and c-aminobutyric acid (GABA), in causing PMS symptoms. Reducing salt, caffeine, and stress along with increasing exercise is typically all that is recommended in those with mild symptoms. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation may be useful in some. Anti-inflammatory drugs may help with physical symptoms. In those with more severe symptoms, birth control pills may be useful.