Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional problems that occur before menstrual bleeding. Common emotional symptoms of PMS include depression, mood swings, anxiety, irritation, oversensitivity and crying. Bloating, cramps, body ache, headache and low back pain are common physical symptoms of PMS.
The symptoms of PMS can occur at any time after ovulation. The symptoms subside naturally after the periods begin. Although almost 80 per cent women experience some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, only 20 to 30 per cent women experience moderate to severe PMS. Less than 6 per cent women suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a more serious form of PMS.
Stress worsens PMS
Changes in sex hormones might alter the brain chemicals, leading to PMS. Studies have shown that stress might increase the risk of premenstrual syndrome. In a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health, researchers from the National Institute of Child Health and Human
Development have reported that women who experienced high levels of stress in the period between ovulation and before the inception of menstrual bleeding were two to three times more likely to develop moderate to severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. However, it is unclear whether stress triggers PMS or whether anxiety about premenstrual syndrome leads to stress.
Prevent PMS by reducing stress
The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome could be prevented by treating stress. Premenstrual syndrome might be alleviated with common inexpensive stress management techniques such as meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, biofeedback and exercises.
Although stress management techniques might not eliminate all the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, it can make the symptoms more manageable. Sometimes high levels of stress need to be treated with antidepressants.
Changes in the dietary habits might lower the risk of premenstrual syndrome. Vitamin B6 rich foods and supplements could help to reduce stress by facilitating synthesis of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood.
Women prone to PMS could take 100 mg of vitamin B6 daily to prevent PMS. A diet rich in complex carbohydrates could be beneficial for women suffering from high levels of stress. Studies have shown chaste tree berries could lower stress and alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome arising out of of stress.