Mood swings, crabby behavior and intense sugar cravings. Most women can identify with the above during that time of the month. Known as Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, PMS is a common cyclic disorder that affects young and middle-aged women. It is estimated that as many as 85 to 95 per cent of pre-menopausal women regularly experience such symptoms before the onset of the menstrual cycle. While symptoms are mild in most cases, about 8 to 20 per cent experience symptoms that meet the clinical definition of PMS, which is characterized by moderate to severe symptoms that substantially interfere with normal life activities and interpersonal relationships. PMS symptoms occur 1 to 2 weeks before your period (menstruation or monthly bleeding) starts. The symptoms usually go away after you start bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman.
The causes of PMS are not clear, but several factors may be involved. Changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle seem to be an important cause. These changing hormone levels may affect some women more than others. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved. Stress and emotional problems, such as depression, do not seem to cause PMS, but they may make it worse. Some other possible causes include:
- Low levels of vitamins and minerals
- Eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause you to retain (keep) fluid
- Drinking alcohol and caffeine, which may alter your mood and energy level
The symptoms often get worse in a woman’s late 30s and 40s as she approaches the transition to menopause.
The most common symptoms of PMS include:
- Bloating or feeling gassy
- Breast tenderness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Food cravings
- Less tolerance for noises and lights
Other symptoms include:
- Confusion, trouble concentrating, or forgetfulness
- Fatigue and feeling slow or sluggish
- Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Feelings of tension, anxiety, or edginess
- Irritable, hostile, or aggressive behavior, with outbursts of anger toward self or others
- Loss of sex drive (may increase in some women)
- Mood swings
- Poor judgment
- Poor self-image, feelings of guilt, or increased fears
- Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little)
Remedies/ Prevention According To Modern Prospective
Keep a daily diary or log for at least 3 months. Record the type of symptoms you have, how severe they are, and how long they last. This symptom diary will help you and your health care provider find the best treatment.
A healthy lifestyle is the first step to managing PMS. For many women, lifestyle approaches are often enough to control symptoms.
- Drink plenty of fluids (water or juice, not soft drinks, alcohol, or other beverages with caffeine) to help reduce bloating, fluid retention, and other symptoms.
- Eat frequent, small meals. Do not go more than 3 hours between snacks. Avoid overeating.
- Eat a balanced diet with extra whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, and limited or no salt and sugar.
- Your health care provider may recommend that you take nutritional supplements.Vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium are commonly used. Tryptophan, which is found in dairy products, may also be helpful.
- Get regular aerobic exercise throughout the month to help reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. Exercise more often and harder during the weeks when you have PMS.
- Try changing your nighttime sleep habits.
The Ayurvedic perspective of treating PMS
Ayurveda doesn’t look at the disease in a vacuum. It looks at the entire organism, completely evaluating its inborn characteristics (dosha) and its current state (imbalances of dosha). Prior to suggesting any remedy, an Ayurvedic practitioner will determine client’s body/mind constitution and then examine any current symptoms through the lens of the individual dosha. Every human being is unique according to Ayurveda and therefore recommendations will be slightly different and specifically customized for every individual.
Based on the individual dosha evaluation and its imbalance, practitioners can recommend simple dietary or daily routine changes such as adding more cooked nourishing dishes or having your biggest meal around noon that will alleviate most problems without drugs. It stands in opposition with Western doctors, who treat the symptoms without taking time to find out what cause the problem in the first place.
For example, if you come to your gynecologist with pain or cramps complaint, he is very likely to prescribe a form of painkillers. While, in Ayurveda we try to look at the reason, then resolve it by simple non-prescription drug methods so that the problem never returns. Another important difference between Ayurvedic approach and Western medicine is that Ayurveda helps the person to understand her body and the reason behind the problem. It gives a woman is better knowledge of her body and greater control over how she feels. In Ayurveda food, yoga, breathing exercises, and simple herbs are the major recommendations. All the options for treatment whether they are herbs or exercise or breathing are simple and affordable.
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- Provides general nutrition needed to a female body and helps regulate menstrual cycle and ovulation process.
- Helps balance and restore hormonal disorders including hypothalmo-pituitary-ovarian endocrine axis and manage routine stress on a female mind and body.
- Helps manage PMS in pre-teens as well as in mature women.
- Supports in menopausal syndrome in middle-aged women and help them overcome from emotional and mental problems.
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- Aloe Vera helps keep skin supple, glowing and shining, improves digestive system and also helps relieve dysmenorrhea in young women by expelling uterine debris.
Ayurveda says that Inorder to prevent PMS from happening one should follow some general rules;
- Diet is very important 1 week before the cycle.
- Try to avoid anything too cold, salty, refined sugar, and caffeine.
- Your diet should contain mostly warm and nourishing light dishes.
- Cooked and semi-cooked vegetable and lots of fruits is always good, just make sure not to mix them in one meal. It is best to follow your regular routine without adding anything new or extreme to your lifestyle.
- So if you exercise regularly, keep exercising at the same level of intensity, no need to significantly reduce or intensify the routine. Also, aim for a good restful sleep, it will keep Vata at bay.
- One last important thing to keep in mind is your digestion. Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day to detoxify your body.
- Digestion is the cornerstone of health in Ayurveda. If your body stores toxins, you are more like to experience severe PMS symptoms. Water and lots of fiber are beneficial for keeping digestion healthy.
Yogasana that works in PMS are:
Vajrasana or Thunderbolt pose is good to keep digestion healthy and prevent PMS symptoms. Vata types should focus on keeping their internal warmth. Sun Salutations, forward bends, child’s pose, and Rabbit are good asanas for Vata type PMS. They can also add alternative nostril breathing and Bhramri or Bramari (Bumble Bee) breath. Pitta types will benefit from side stretches that will reduce frustration and help create more space and openness; Cobra, Bow, and Camel poses. Pitta’s PMS yoga routine should start and end with a long Savasana to release all the tension and bring the attention internally. They should avoid Sun Salutations during this time and do a cooling Sheetali Breathing.