PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (Premenstrual Tension; PMS)
(Premenstrual Tension; PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome consists of symptoms that begin 7 to 14 days prior to a menstrual period and usually stop when menstruation begins. Body parts involved include the gastrointestinal system, the central nervous system--including the brain, the coverings of the brain (meninges), and the spinal cord--and peripheral nerves, as well as the skin, reproductive system, and breasts. Premenstrual syndrome affects about half of all females beyond puberty at some time -- some very frequently.
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications (sometimes).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSNervousness and irritability.
Dizziness or fainting.
Increased or decreased sex drive.
Tender, swollen breasts.
Bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive disturbances.
Fluid retention that causes puffiness in ankles, hands, and face.
Higher incidence of minor infections such as colds.
CAUSESFluctuations in the circulating level of hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone). These fluctuations cause retention of sodium in the bloodstream, resulting in edema in body tissues--including the brain.
Increased levels of prostaglandin (a chemical) in the bloodstream.
The older a woman is and the more children she has, the more likely she is to have PMS. Stress in younger women increases the likelihood of PMS.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSEmotional stress caused by symptoms severe enough to disrupt your daughter's life.
Present treatments may or may not be effective. Medication can relieve some symptoms. However, many new treatments are in the experimental stage, offering hope for the future.
HOME CAREReduce your daughter's stress whenever possible. See Appendix 19.
MEDICATIONTranquilizers or sedatives to relieve tension.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease prostaglandin levels.
Diuretics to reduce fluid retention.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDSYour daughter should decrease salt intake during the premenstrual phase.
Your doctor may prescribe vitamin B-6 (50mg to 100mg daily) and extra calcium (either in tablets or in milk or milk products). These supplements decrease symptoms in some females.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes. Try to keep activities normal.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your daughter has symptoms of PMS that interfere with normal activities or relationships, and self-care is not sufficient.
Symptoms don't improve, despite treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.