Several factors play a part in causing PMS, but hormones have the lead role. The natural ebb and flow of hormones during a woman’s monthly cycle correspond to signs and symptoms of PMS. The regularity of symptoms also disappears during pregnancy and after menopause which supports the link to hormonal changes. However, studies have also shown chemical changes in the brain may also play a part in cycle-related mood swings.
Balancing the hormonal scales
Often some simple lifestyle changes can bring premenstrual symptoms under control. When those changes do not provide relief, a physician may prescribe hormonal-based medications. While these medications do generally offer help with the bothersome symptoms, there are some factors to consider. Many medications are contraceptives that prevent a woman from ovulating and becoming pregnant should that be a desire.
Other considerations before starting hormonal based treatment for PMS include long-term effects. Since the treatment essentially puts a woman into a menopausal state, there can be a higher risk for osteoporosis. Also, as hormone levels adjust, the result may be an improvement of some symptoms and worsening of others. Generally, a happy medium can be found through trialing different medications but that may take a while.
Other medication choices
If hormonal based treatment is not an option, additional medication may be considered. Anti-anxiety medication may be the answer if irritability is the primary symptom. Anti-depressive agents can be indicated if there is an underlying diagnosis. Even a diuretic to relieve excess water-retention can be helpful with bloating. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications may effectively relieve cramping and general discomfort.
Additional options for relief
Frequently women can control many symptoms of PMS through lifestyle changes. Since there are both physical and emotional components to PMS, everything from eating habits to sleep patterns may have an effect. Some relatively simple changes that could have positive impacts include:
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Ensure adequate sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Find healthy stress coping mechanisms
- Stop smoking
Comfortable every month
While few, if any, women look forward to a monthly cycle, PMS symptoms do not have to be endured. Hormones do play a role, but that role can be reduced with medication interventions. There are also other remedies to reduce symptoms. A healthy lifestyle, a good sleep schedule, and regular exercise will likely help. Most importantly, talk with a doctor about symptoms and determine what can change a miserable cycle to a comfortable one.