This condition has a wide spectrum of symptoms. The most common are: mood swings, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, excessive tiredness, headache, bloating, breast tenderness, greasy hair and worsening acne.
The symptoms occur regularly, usually one week before periods. Some women have one or two complaints and manage to cope with them well but some might have lots of debilitating symptoms and their quality of life is profoundly affected (this syndrome is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; PMDD)
It is still unknown what actually causes this syndrome. One suggestion is that some women have unusual sensitivity to normal fluctuations of their hormones. In the second part of the menstrual cycle Oestrogen and Progesterone drop to very low levels and this can trigger symptoms. If you suspect that you might have PMS try to monitor your symptoms over your next three cycles and see if there is any repetitive pattern.
How to manage PMDD
1. Start with lifestyle adjustments as follows:
- diet: introduce more fibre to your diet (fibre feeds our microbiome helping to eliminate metabolites of Oestrogen). Also reduce coffee, tea & alcohol.
- Manage stress (yoga, qigong, meditation).
- Exercise regularly.
- Try to have regular a sleeping routine (and sleep 7-8 hours).
2. Discuss supplementation with your doctor (Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin D, Omega 3, Vitamin E).
3. Consider Agnus Castus (anecdotal evidence but works for some).
4. Clean your diet and personal products (avoid xenooestrogen).
5. Your doctor might advise you to consider SSRI antidepressants for the second part of the cycle (they probaby work on GABA receptors).
6. Some women benefit from taking Progesterone and/or a small dose of Oestrogen.