Menstruation, commonly referred to as a period or menses, is the periodic discharge of blood and mucosal tissues from the uterus in non-pregnant women, usually occurring at four week intervals. If no pregnancy (fertilization of the egg) occurs, the uterus sheds its lining. The menstrual blood is partly blood and partly tissue from inside the uterus which then the blood passes out of the body through the vagina. Periods usually start around age 12 and continue until menopause (generally between the ages of 45-55). Most periods last from three to seven days.
Premenstrual syndrome also known as PMS, is a group of symptoms that start one to two weeks before the period. Most women have at least some symptoms of PMS, and the symptoms go away after their periods start. The most common symptoms are: irritability, anxiety, depression, headache, bloating, fatigue or excessive tiredness, feelings of hostility and anger, and food cravings, especially for chocolate or sweet and salty foods. Breast tenderness is also common in women during PMS.
What causes it? The exact causes for PMS are not known but researchers believe it is likely due to a hormonal imbalance.
What are my treatment options?
For pain doctor's typically recommend over the counter pain medication. For irregular periods some MD's may prescribe the birth control pill. Before taking this type of medication, keep in mind that it causes depletions of various vitamins such as B6 and folic acid, and because it is just a quick fix your period will likely still be irregular after coming off. It can take some women up to 6 months to get their periods back after they stop taking the birth control pill.
Natural alternative or complimentary options:
Many PMS symptoms can be allievated by eating a healthy diet, decreasing stress levels, by taking specific natural supplements or receiving acupuncture treatments with a qualified practitioner.
Did you know that there are 4 different types of PMS?
The main symptoms for each are as follows:
PMS A - mild anxiety, irritability, mood swings
PMS C - Cravings, fatigue, head aches, dizziness, palpitations and problems regulating sugar levels
PMS H - Hydration/water retention, bloating and breast tenderness
PMS D - Drama and Depression, insomnia and forgetfulness
There are different natural remedies and treatments that can help you depending on what your PMS type is. These may include botanical/herbal medicine, vitamins, diet therapy and/or acupuncture treatments. You can find all of these treatments at KIH clinic.