Jokes abound about premenstrual syndrome, of PMS. But for those close to someone with the disorder, it is no laughing matter. It is hard to be sympathetic with someone who is biting your head off. The lack of control over one’s emotions, just one of many symptoms, have sufferers screaming in frustration and growling for help.

Today, PMS is one of the most talked about maladies in the world. It is about time. For hundreds of years this debilitating condition affecting millions of women went unrecognized, not to mention undiagnosed and untreated. Even more, women suffering from it were made to feel like it was their fault. Since men do not experience PMS, without doubt it has contributed toward a belief that women are “the weaker sex.”

Meanwhile women-ever since Eve-have suffered and incredible array of patience-taxing physical and emotional symptoms. They include anxiety, anti-social and emotional symptoms. They include anxiety, anti-social behavior, bloating, breat swelling and sensitivity, confusion, cramps, cravings for certain foods, crying spells, depression, dizziness, exhaustion, fluid retention-especially in the legs-headaches, irritability, sleeplessness, and, among others, wide mood swings.

It is estimated that between one –third and one-half of all Americans women between the ages of 20 and 50- as many as 14 million women-have premenstrual symptoms of varying degrees. That is a lot of unhappy women!

One of the problems medical science has concerning PMS is that it is not an illness, per se. It is not something you “get” or “catch,” then start medication to treat. This is because the causes can be varied, uncertain and sometimes impossible to pinpoint.

The good news-when it comes to nutritional information, there is always good news-is that PMS can be helped, easily and conveniently. 

Premenstrual syndrome is actually a number of symptoms, varying in severity, that occur a week to ten days prior to the start of the menstrual period. Because of the telltale timing, we know it somehow relates to the hormonal changes our bodies go through during this time.

History books describe PMS as “the vapors.” When I hear the term I picture the way movie-makers typically depict the turn of the century woman: waving a lace handkerchief of front of her nose, eyes rolled upward as she falls in dead faint. Ever notice how whenever a woman faints in soap operas it turns out she is pregnant?

It seems incredible that in this generation of women in the work place and legislature there could still be physicians who would label premenstrual syndrome “psychosomatic.” Makes you wonder how many other valid and obvious diseases are being overlooked.

What seems likely is that hormonal fluctuations contribute, if not cause, most symptoms pf PMS.

Studies show that five to 10 days before menstruation, women with PMS have higher blood levels of estrogen and lower levels of progesterone than non-PMS sufferers.

Premenstrual syndrome

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