05 Oct PMS or Dysmenorrhoea
PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome (known medically as dysmenorrhoea) is often the butt of many-a-joke, yet it is no joke for those living with it; especially when it is understood that it is largely preventable.
In industrialised cultures PMS is extremely common, ranging in prevalence from about 16-91% of women of menstruating age. However, PMS is almost unheard of in non-industrialised cultures. There may be many reasons for this, but here are some of the factors that are likely:
- Movement / Activity level
- Toxic exposure
- Cultural practices
Premenstrual Syndrome usually results in both emotional and physical symptoms that regularly occur in the “luteal phase” of the menstrual cycle – one to two weeks before the start of the menstrual period. These symptoms usually resolve around the start of mesntruation and different people will experience different symptoms. Common emotional symptoms include irritability and mood changes while common physical symptoms can include acne, bloating, breast tenderness, and feelings of fatigue.
In working with many women across many years, premenstrual symptoms are almost always resolvable with the right interventions; generally this means working on a range of factors, including those in the list above, as well as many other related factors. Clinically we use a screening tool called a health appraisal questionnaire to better understand which elements of the cycle are affected – as well as other contributing factors. Lab testing (usually a blood test) may also be used if the situation is more complex or we need to dive into more detail, though this is rarely required.
PMS is part of a series of conditions that you can be predisposed to if you have other seemingly unrelated conditions; from things like restless leg syndrome, to headache, to back pain, to recurrent bladder issues (cystitis) or irritable bowel syndrome .
You can hear more about the causes and remedies for PMS in my FC2O podcast interview with Sara Gustafson, creator of the online product Holistic Health & Performance for Women. Sara is a colleague of mine based in Austin, Texas whose approach very closely reflects my own.
If you’d like to get in touch to find out more about how we can work together, please feel free to contact me here.