Women have a secret weapon – it is called PMS! But is this syndrome for real and does it really turn -nice girls’ into bad-tempered, evil, nasty and out-of-control she-devils?
Many men dismiss this women-only syndrome, putting it down to -mind over matter’! However the fact of the matter is that PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is very real, and men – you may just need to tread very carefully on PMS days.
From a medical standpoint:
There are as many as two hundred symptoms linked to PMS, with the most common being tension, depression and anxiety. A lot of women complain of headaches, insomnia, and fatigue, an increase in emotions – either feeling terribly sad (for no reason) or strangely upbeat. In terms of physical changes, women suffer from stomach cramps and pains, tenderness of the breasts. Out of the two hundred known symptoms, a premenstrual woman may suffer from three or four of the symptoms and usually it is the same symptoms each month. PMS starts about ten days before a cycle starts.
There is no single cause for PMS and in fact, the syndrome is not well understood. Experts are divided on the precise causes of the syndrome, with many believing that the severity of PMS is genetic, while others believe that PMS is caused because of the serotonin levels in the brain, which are affected by the changes taking place in the body.
Interestingly enough when woman began complaining of PMS symptoms in the early 1980s, male medical doctors were quick to dismiss their complaints and were convinced that the changes were simply -imagined’. Up until the 1980s no research was conducted.
Unfortunately for the men who at the receiving end of their partner’s PMS rage, there is no cure for PMS but there are effective treatments that will ease the symptoms and restore normality to the home. A change in diet has proven very successful in reducing the severity of PMS’ symptoms and these changes include:
- Smaller meals spread evenly throughout the day;
- Avoiding salty or spicy foods;
- Drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, this will help with the headaches and also with fatigue;
- Adding more fruit and vegetables to the diet and foods which are high in fiber;
- Cheese and milk which are high in calcium will help reduce the psychological and the physical PMS symptoms;
- Limit coffee and alcohol.
Working out for at least 30 minutes a day will assist in reducing depression and boost morale. Exercise will help the blood to circulate and a good workout (swimming, jogging or vigorous skipping) will reduce stress.
After research was conducted in the causes of PMS and the symptoms of PMS, medications were developed to help ease the physical and psychosocial symptoms. The effectiveness of this type of treatment has not been proven and it is advisable to first start by changing diet and lifestyle before opting to use medication. If symptoms are intolerable and are causing problems within your relationship, it may be wise to seek medical advice from a professional who will suggest various treatments to reduce the symptoms. A number of experts believe that the birth control pill is one way of controlling and managing PMS. Oral contraceptives stop ovulation and as such the hormone levels in the body are stabilised and this all but eradicates or greatly reduces the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS.
In summary …
PMS is very real and is not just -in your head’! The next time you want to scream -Pass My Shotgun’ – take a deep breath, go for a swim, bite into a fresh, juicy apple and remember… this too will pass!
– Kathy Baron