Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) / Premenstrual Tension (PMT)

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Many women notice differences in how they feel, emotionally and physically, during the month cycle. For example: You may notice one or more of the following feelings before your periods.

  1. Change in mood – feeling depressed / low, irritable, worried, unable to cope or tearful.
  2. Feeling tired.
  3. Change in sleeping pattern – need more sleep or find it hard to sleep.
  4. Change in appetite – feel hungrier and crave sweet foods.
  5. Change in your ability to concentrate.
  6. Physical changes – headaches, breasts tenderness, feeling swollen especially tummy, ankles, fingers and eyelids, diarrhea, constipation, stomaches.

How to tell if you experience PMS (PMT)
If you regularly feel that you change, physically or emotionally or both, in the time before your periods, and feel better once your period starts, then you probably experience PMS / PMT.

What causes PMS / PMT?

Hormones and PMS / PMT

The chances are that the hormones of the menstrual cycle are involved. There may be a slight imbalance between estrogens and progesterone. The sudden drop in hormones in the days before a period may cause changes in how you feel. Another hormone, prolactin, may be involved. This is made by the pituitary gland in the brain and causes breasts tissue to produce milk when you are breasts feeding. It is possible that too much prolactin in the second part of the menstrual cycle, before a period, may contribute to PMT / PMS, especially breasts tenderness and fluid retention.

Deficiency of vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 – is important in chemical processes in the body. It play two role:

  1. Vitamin B6 plays a part in making prolactin, such that if there is enough B6 in your body, the pituitary gland makes too much prolactin, perhaps contributing to breasts tenderness and fluid retention.
  2. B6 may be involved in the chemistry of moods, so low level of B6 in your body may make you feel low and depressed.

Fluid retention

Hormones control the balance of fluids and salt in the body. As the result of the change in hormones before a  period, some women retain fluid, which causes the puffy, bloated feelings and possibly tiredness, breasts tenderness and headaches.

How to cope:

  • Avoid large, heavy meal. instead have a light meals.
  • Cut down salt
  • Avoid tea or coffee – too much caffeine make fluid retention worse.

Low blood sugar

Hormones also control the amounts of sugar in the blood, necessary to supply a constant source of energy. Before a period, the levels of sugar may drop lower than usual. This causes you to feel low, tired, weak, and shaky, irritable and head achy. You may also want to eat more, especially sweet foods in order to boost up your flagging blood sugar.

Way to cope:

  • Eat high protein meals at regular intervals throughout the day. This means you are getting a constant supply of energy.
  • craving for sweet food, sweets, chocolate can make thing worse. Sugar boost up blood sugar for only a short time and make it drop dramatically afterwards rather than supplying long lasting energy.

Vitamin B6

  • help premenstrual breasts tenderness, fluid retention and feeling low, tense and irritable.

Recommended doses: 50mg twice per day. If this does not help, it can be increased to 150mg per day.

Note: It has been suggested that the effects of B6 may be improved by taking additional magnesium (at least 200mg – 300mg) per day.

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