PMS refers to the fluctuations in mood, emotions, physical well-being, and behavior that manifest between ovulation and the commencement of menstruation. These changes often continue for several days into the menstrual cycle, potentially disrupting daily life.
If you're no stranger to symptoms like cramps, bloating, headaches, and mood swings, then you're likely familiar with the challenges of premenstrual syndrome, commonly termed as PMS.
We spoke to Dr. Ankesh Sahetya (DNB, DGO, MNAMS, FICOG) a gynecologist, obstetrician and infertility specialist to get the answers for your most-asked questions about PMS. Here’s what we learned.
1. Can you explain what PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is and its common symptoms?
In the seven to ten days leading up to menstruation, many women undergo a range of symptoms, including abdominal cramps, breast sensitivity, irritability, mood fluctuations, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms are known as Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS). While mild PMS can cause irritability, abdominal pain, and breast discomfort, there's a more severe form termed PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). Although not frequently diagnosed, PMDD can lead to extreme irritability, intense anger, a remarkably low tolerance threshold, and overwhelming feelings of bloating that can render a woman feeling unable to function in her daily tasks. This is because of the hormonal fluctuations that occur post-ovulation. It's only when these hormone levels decline that menstruation begins. Due to these peak hormone levels, symptoms like bloating, irritability, and water retention can severely impact a woman's work and relationships.
2. What are the primary causes of PMS? Are there any lifestyle factors that can worsen PMS symptoms, and how can they be managed or mitigated?
There is no specific cause. Women with pre-existing hormonal imbalances, such as those with PCOS or severe hypothyroidism – conditions that can independently lead to irregular periods and hormonal disturbances – might experience intensified PMS symptoms due to the delay in their cycles brought about by these imbalances. For instance, someone dealing with obesity or PCOS, who may menstruate only once every two months or after 50 days, tends to experience an exxagerated PMS. Such individuals often grapple with heightened irritability, anger, and may frequently take pregnancy tests out of concern. To put it bluntly, out of 10 patients, 9 experience PMS, but the intensity can range from mild and moderate to severe cases of PMDD.
3. Are there any dietary modifications or supplements that may help reduce PMS symptoms?
Certainly, for those experiencing PMS, we recommend increasing fluid consumption and cutting back on caffeine. Consuming caffeine or alcohol can lead to dehydration since they act as diuretics, increasing urine output. It's beneficial to hydrate with water and consume foods like citrus fruits, watermelon, and dark chocolate. Some studies even suggest that intimacy, such as sexual intercourse, can alleviate PMS symptoms due to the release of dopamine and endorphins. Engaging in regular exercise or strenuous workouts can similarly boost endorphin levels, potentially mitigating PMS symptoms. Staying active, spending time outdoors in the sunlight, and avoiding overwhelming stimuli like loud music, intense lights, and strong odors are also advisable, as heightened sensitivities to these can exacerbate PMS symptoms.
4. How does age and gender impact PMS, and do you approach treatment differently based on these factors?
Three conditions - PMS, Pre-menopause, and pregnancy - share a set of overlapping symptoms: irritability, water retention, missed periods, and bloating. This similarity often leads to confusion among women, prompting them to take multiple pregnancy tests. However, as women age and approach menopause, the likelihood of experiencing intense PMS increases. Although these symptoms can often be managed with medication, counseling, and proper care, it's essential to have ample emotional support, understanding, and a good doctor by one's side.
About Dr. Ankesh Sahetya | DNB, DGO, MNAMS, FICOG
Dr. Ankesh Sahetya is a second-generation Gynecologist and Obstetrician based in Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West, Mumbai. He runs a hospital and IVF center in the area. Dr. Sahetya received his education and training from prestigious institutions, including Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital, Nair Hospital, Cooper Hospital, and Lilavati Hospital.
With a broad spectrum of expertise, Dr. Sahetya performs a wide range of procedures and offers comprehensive care in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OBGY). His primary areas of specialization include addressing conditions such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and managing high-risk pregnancies. Moreover, he is well-versed in handling cases related to infertility, sexually transmitted conditions, and sexual dysfunctions, providing holistic healthcare solutions to his patients.
Book An Appointment: Dr. Ankesh Sahetya has been practicing for over 10 years at Pushpaa Hospital in Andheri West, Mumbai. In addition to in-person consultations, he extends his services to patients residing outside Mumbai through online consultations. This approach offers patients a convenient means of accessing his valuable medical expertise and guidance. Click here to schedule an appointment, or contact the hospital at +91 7715810228
If you'd like to obtain more information about gynecological topics and receive valuable tips, here's the contact information for Dr. Ankesh Sahetya.
Email: [email protected]