Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Everything You Need to Know

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is estimated to affect the majority (3 out of 4) women at some time in their lives. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including mood swings, tender breasts, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression.

Exactly what causes premenstrual syndrome is unknown, but several factors may contribute to the condition:

  • Cyclic changes in hormones. Signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome change with hormonal fluctuations and disappear with pregnancy and menopause.
  • Chemical changes in the brain. Fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that’s thought to play a crucial role in mood states, could trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to premenstrual depression, as well as to fatigue, food cravings, and sleep problems.
  • Depression. Some women with severe premenstrual syndrome have undiagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms.
  • Eat phytoestrogens (plant estrogens)—edamame, hummus, nuts, nut butters, tofu, flax seeds, and practically any source of plant protein
  • Exercise—combine cardio and resistance training to help exercise elevate all of the brain reward chemicals that decrease with PMS
  • Meditate—or practice yoga, Pilates, or any discipline that inspires focus and mindfulness
  • Take your supplements—a multi-vitamin, calcium (at least 1000 mg per day in divided doses), vitamin D (1000 IU per day), and Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA-dominant, up to 3000 mg a day during low hormone days)
  • Chocolate can help—the polyphenols in dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids) have estrogen-like activity, but limit intake to no more than 1 ounce/day
  • Sprinkle on the cinnamon—a half-teaspoon a day can help offset the negative metabolic effects of dropping hormones

Serotonin-enhancing medications (like some antidepressants) can also be used to regulate symptoms. Often, hormonal contraception can help, such as the pill or the ring. There are many tools, but success starts when you realize what’s happening and consult with your health care provider.

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What People Are Saying

Toni G
2022-06-02
I've been seeing Dr. Price for many years and have always had a great experience with her. Dr. Price has always listened to me and addressed all of my questions and concerns. My only complaint is with a former nurse I saw for medical issues who didn't further investigate them and it got progressively worse. Luckily the current nurse practitioner diagnosed me correctly and have received the correct treatment.
Morgan Miller
2022-04-22
When I was looking for a gyno, Jeanette and Dr. Booth came highly recommended from family that see them and rightly so! Jeanette has the best bedside manner and takes the time to be thorough and understand the patient. When I had an issue outside of office hours, I was able to submit a question on the Follow My Health app and got a phone call in less than 30 minutes from the care team. They’re the best and I tell everyone about them!
Jennifer Stephens
2022-04-15
I’ve been a patient at Women 1st for 16 years and cannot say enough about this practice. Every staff member is caring, friendly, and very good at what they do. The physicians & nurses are some of the best in the state of Kentucky, which is why I currently live in Georgetown and drive to Louisville to continue my care. Highly recommend Dr. Warren or Dr. Price!
Kailee Kaiser
2022-02-17
Jeannette Jaggers, APRN is GREAT! I drive a hour and a half just to see her! Makes you feel comfortable and truly cares about YOU! Very happy to have her as my OB/GYN.