Most women can tell when their period s about to start. Prior to the onset of their menstruation, they experience a variety of symptoms including breast tenderness, mild weight gain or a bloating sensation, headaches and an increased sensitivity. But for many women, the preamble to their period is much more than that, because they also experience mood swings and behavioural changes serious enough to really disturb their daily life. This collection of symptoms is referred to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and it affects about 75 percent of women of childbearing age. It is reported to be severe in 2 to 10 percent of women.
PMS and dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) are sometimes confused. PMS precedes your period while dysmenorrhea occurs during your period. Typical PMS symptoms include:
- preference for certain food
- trouble concentrating
Medical treatment of PMS is in constant evolution. Research has established that regular physical exercise and a healthy diet can diminish the symptoms of PMS. In particular, avoiding alcohol and caffeine has been shown to reduce symptoms. Oral contraceptive are commonly used to treat PMS. Although vitamin B6 was once frequently recommended, studies have failed to establish any significant positive effects. Several studies have demonstrated that the use of calcium supplements (1000 to 1600mg per day) helps in the relief of some symtoms. Finally, some physicians prescribe medication that eliminate various problems linked to menstruation, or antidepressants because they act on brain neurotransmitters.