That time of the month

Bray People - - LIFESTYLE - DR MICHELLE COOPER’S

PRE­MEN­STRUAL syn­drome (PMS) is a con­di­tion in women where cer­tain symp­toms oc­cur each month prior to a pe­riod which can se­verely af­fect qual­ity of life.

SYMP­TOMS

The most common symp­toms in­clude: • Psy­cho­log­i­cal symp­toms; such as ten­sion, ir­ri­tabil­ity, tired­ness, feel­ings of ag­gres­sion, feel­ing emo­tional, low mood, anx­i­ety and loss of con­fi­dence. Changes in sleep pat­tern, sex­ual feel­ings and changes in ap­petite may also oc­cur.

• Phys­i­cal symp­toms; in­clud­ing breast pain and swelling, ab­dom­i­nal bloat­ing as well as swelling of the feet or hands, weight gain and headaches are common. It is im­por­tant to note that pa­tients who suf­fer with asthma, mi­graine, epilepsy or cold sores may find that th­ese con­di­tions be­come worse be­fore a pe­riod.

TREAT­MENTS

Var­i­ous treat­ments have been ad­vo­cated for pre­men­strual syn­drome, although there is lit­tle ev­i­dence to support their use. Be­low are some of the med­i­ca­tions avail­able that may im­prove symp­toms:

• Cal­cium taken at a daily dose of 10002000mg.

• Mag­ne­sium at a dose of 200-400mg taken dur­ing the two weeks be­fore a pe­riod.

• Vi­ta­min B6 at a daily dose of 10mg per day. • Evening prim­rose oil. • Com­bined oral con­tra­cep­tive pills, which pre­vent ovu­la­tion, of­ten help to re­duce symp­toms.

• Se­lec­tive Sero­tonin Re-up­take In­hibitors (SSRI) which are used to treat de­pres­sion; of­ten also ease the symp­toms of pre­men­strual syn­drome, even if the in­di­vid­ual is not de­pressed.

• Di­uret­ics which re­duce fluid re­ten­tion and bloat­ing may pro­vide symp­to­matic re­lief to pa­tients dur­ing their pe­riod.

• Anti-in­flam­ma­tory painkillers which are use­ful in eas­ing painful symp­toms are use­ful when ap­pro­pri­ate.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

Keep a di­ary, not­ing the days you have pre­men­strual symp­toms. Take note of when pe­ri­ods are due so you can pre­dict when your pre­men­strual syn­drome is likely to oc­cur.

Be­ing pre­pared for symp­toms will equip you to cope bet­ter with them. Ex­er­cise has been shown in cer­tain stud­ies to help ease symp­toms and im­prove gen­eral well­be­ing. Re­duc­ing the amount of car­bo­hy­drate as well as re­duc­ing caf­feine and al­co­hol in­take be­fore a pe­riod may help re­duce the sever­ity of symp­toms.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion may be ob­tained from http://www.hse.ie/eng/health/az/P/ Pre­men­strual-syn­drome/Treat­ing-pre­men­strual-syn­drome-PMS-.html

Pre­men­strual syn­drome (PMS) is a con­di­tion in women where cer­tain symp­toms oc­cur each month prior to a pe­riod which can se­verely af­fect qual­ity of life.

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