Premenstrual syndrome

Signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can range from distressing to death, from energetic to tired and unconcentrated - the monthly ups and downs of hormones cause many women to fluctuate in physical and mental well-being. The days before the days are not the best for many women.

PMS: What is the premenstrual syndrome?

The premenstrual syndrome is a whole complex of ailments - both physical and mental - and leads to a significant reduction in the quality of life in many women. The symptoms always occur in the second half of the cycle, the so-called luteal phase. They start 10 to 14 days before the onset of menstruation, worsening until onset of the period, then disappearing on the first or second day of the menstrual period.

PMS: symptoms and signs

The PMS covers a range of more than 150 symptoms, which can occur in different accumulation and intensity. They are divided into mental and physical symptoms. These PMS symptoms are manifested in complaints such as:

  • Irritability, mood swings
  • depressive moods, anxiety
  • Sleep and concentration disorders
  • Water retention (in the ankles and eyelids)
  • Tension in the breasts
  • a headache
  • Food cravings
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence
  • acne

Some women are plagued by just one or two PMS symptoms, others by a dozen PMS symptoms. Depending on the severity of PMS symptoms, there may be recurrent conflicts in partnership, family and work during this time. Fortunately, the symptoms stop with the onset of the menstrual period.

Causes of premenstrual syndrome

To date, the causes of PMS could not be clarified. With the variety of symptoms, however, it is unlikely that only a single trigger comes into question. As possible triggers are discussed:

  • Disturbances in hormonal balance, such as increased estrogen / progestin quotient or increased blood prolactin levels (naturally occurring a few days before the onset of menstruation).
  • Gynecological diseases such as myomas or endometriosis.
  • Mental factors such as depression, sleep disorders, stress, traumatic experiences.
  • The diet also plays a role: too much caffeine, too much alcohol, too much nicotine and too much sugar intake can promote premenstrual syndrome as well as low physical fitness.

PMS: treatment of the syndrome

In general, the PMS can already be controlled by a balanced diet with intake of unsaturated fatty acids, no caffeine, chocolate, nicotine and alcohol and increased physical activity (sufficient exercise). As a dietary supplement, magnesium, vitamin B6 (in doses up to 100 mg per day) and zinc have been proven.

In order to improve the often very unpleasant psychological symptoms of PMS, additional relaxation measures such as yoga or autogenic training can make it easier for those affected to have "critical days before the days".

A dry extract of chasteberry is an effective and well-tolerated alternative in women with premenstrual syndrome. The chaste tree (Agnus castus) is attributed a gestagen-like effect, which leads to a harmonization of the hormonal balance. Especially complaints such as nervousness, irritability, water retention or tightness of the breasts respond well to chaste tree. Agnus castus is mainly used in herbal form and is contained in numerous combination preparations, which can bring about a significant improvement in the symptoms.

PMDS: PMS in the hardest form

However, more than 5 percent of women have such severe complaints that the quality of life is severely limited and they need medical treatment. They are suffering from one Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDS), the heaviest form of PMS. Depending on the severity of the disease, various medicines are used as medicamentous therapy, for example psychotropic drugs, diuretic medicines, analgesics, but also chaste tree. If massive mental health problems occur, additional psychological care may be useful.

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