Topic of the Month
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of
symptoms related to the female menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms
occur in the week or two weeks before your period (menstruation
or monthly bleeding). The symptoms usually go away after your
An estimated 70 percent to 90 percent of menstruating women
experience some form of PMS. These problems are more likely to
trouble women in their 20s to 30s, and they tend to recur in a
predictable pattern. Yet the physical and emotional changes you
experience may be more or less intense with each menstrual
Over 150 symptoms have been attributed to PMS. After
complaints of feeling "out-of-control", anxious,
depressed and having uncontrollable crying spells, the most
common complaints are headache and fatigue. But symptoms may
vary from month to month and there may even be symptom-free
months. No women present with all the PMS symptoms.
Characteristically symptoms may be both physical and emotional.
They may include physical symptoms as headache, migraine, fluid
retention, fatigue, constipation, painful joints, backache,
abdominal cramping, heart palpitations and weight gain.
Emotional and behavioral changes may include anxiety,
depression, irritability, panic attacks, tension,lack of
co-ordination, decreased work or social performance and altered
PMS often includes both physical and emotional
symptoms. Common symptoms are:
Breast swelling and tenderness
Fatigue and trouble sleeping
Upset stomach, bloating, constipation or
Appetite changes or food cravings
Joint or muscle pain
Tension, irritability, mood swings or crying
Anxiety or depression
Trouble concentrating or remembering.
Symptoms vary from one woman to another. If
you think you have PMS, try keeping track of your symptoms for
several menstrual cycles. You can use a calendar to note which
symptoms you are having on which days of your cycle, and how
bad the symptoms are.
Tips on controlling PMS
New cycle , that is the irregularity
experienced by some young girls at the onset of the periods.
Their cycle can be irregular for months or years whilst it is
Dietary problems , e.g. anorexia, bulimia
or simply poor diet
Too much exercise
Drugs - prescription and recreational
Break in routine
Thoughts and emotions
Sexual activity - especially when it is a
Anxiety about pregnancy
Illness or physiological imbalance e.g.
How is the diagnosis of PMS made?
The most helpful diagnostic tool is the menstrual diary, which
documents physical and emotional symptoms over months. If the
changes occur consistently around ovulation (mid cycle or days
7-10 into the menstrual cycle) and last until the menstrual flow
begins, then PMS is probably the accurate diagnosis. Keeping a
menstrual diary not only helps the physician to make the
diagnosis, it also promotes a better understanding by the
patient of her own body and moods. Once the diagnosis of PMS is
made and understood, the patient can better cope with the
Herbs which is useful :
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)
Shatavari is considered to be the most helpful herb
for women as it helps in balancing the female hormonal system.
The main herbal rejuvenative for women, Shatavari nourishes and
cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs causing it
to be very effective in enhancing fertility. It nourishes the
womb and ovum and prepares the female organs for pregnancy and
prevents threatened miscarriage.
Shatavari treats PMS symptoms by relieving pain and controlling
blood loss. Shatavari relieves menopausal symptoms such as hot
flashes. By producing estrogens it makes up for low estrogen
levels in women who are menopausal or have had hysterectomies or
It also improves lactation. Shatavari contains phyto-estrogens,
the precursors of estrogen and is very useful for women who
suffer from low natural estrogen levels as a result of
menopause, hysterectomies or oophorectomies.
Ashoka (Saraca indica ):
bark of the tree is effective for excessive blood loss during
menstruation due to the presence of uterine fibroids,
leucorrhoea and other causes. It can be used as a substitute for
ergot, a kind of dried fungus used in medicine in the treatment
of uterine hamorrhages. It is taken as a decoction.
Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus) :
to the Ayurveda, root is pungent, acrid, cooling, astringent,
appetizer, stomachic, anthelmintic and useful in treatment of
PMS, leprosy, thirst, fever, blood diseases, biliousness,
dysentery, pruritis, pain, vomiting, epilepsy etc.
Kamal Phool (lotus Flower):
is particularly useful in Rakta Pitta - bleeding disorders.
Decoction of leaves and sandalwood or root-powder or seed-powder
is useful for abnormal / irregular bleeding and PMS.
Many traditional ancient medical texts also report its use for
skin conditions, notably ringworm, leprosy, sexually transmitted
diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis as well as for lowering
fevers, fighting fungal infections and supporting a weak heart.
The milky latex found in the stems, leaves and flowers is used
to fight bacterial infections.
Nagkeshar (Mesua ferrea) :
a study of, the plant to assess its putative sex-steroidal
activity, no oestrogenic or progestational activity was found.
Its use in menorrhagia may he due to its action on capillaries.
Oil is used to treat skin diseases and its local application is
also recommended in rheumatism. The plant has been widely used
Diet is very important. Aim for a healthy
diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Cut down on salt to
prevent bloating and sugar which may cause your blood glucose
levels to swing, affecting your energy and appetite. It may help
to cut back on fat which can encourage breast swelling, and
caffeine and alcohol, as both can cause mood swings
Eat regular, healthy meals including plenty of
vegetables, fruit, mixed grains and cereals
Eat small meals to maintain stable energy
levels, this will also significantly reduce food cravings
Drink less caffeine Ė particularly if you are
suffering breast tenderness. Try drinking water instead! (6-8
glasses a day)
Cut down on alcoholic beverages
Cut down on salt and salty foods to help
reduce fluid retention
Get enough rest, sleep and exercise
Wear a well fitting cotton bra if you suffer
tense, painful breasts.
for PMS and other menstrual disorders :