Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Prämenstruelles Syndrom (PMS)

For many women, the days before their period are particularly stressful. They often suffer from premenstrual syndrome. Around three quarters of women of childbearing age are affected by this syndrome. Around five percent of them even feel that the symptoms it causes severely restrict their everyday lives. They suffer from many different physical and psychological stress factors. PMS has only been recognized as a separate disease since 2000. This is precisely why education in this area is important. You can read about where the syndrome comes from that puts so many women under stress, what symptoms it brings with it and how you can combat the symptoms using natural remedies in the following guide.

Female cycle

The female cycle describes the recurring changes that occur in the uterine lining over a certain period of time and the simultaneous maturation of an egg cell within the female ovary. Hormonal changes can also be observed in the female body, as the hormonal balance of the female sex hormones changes over the menstrual cycle.

It indicates the number of days from the start of menstruation to the start of the next menstruation. The length of the cycle lasts on average about 28 days, but varies greatly from woman to woman, which is why anything between 21 and 40 days is normal.

Role of hormones

In general, hormones are the body's own messenger substances that are responsible for communication between the organs and the brain. The female sex hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone) determine the female cycle and menstruation. They ensure the maturation of the egg cell, ovulation and the possible implantation of an egg cell in the uterus. They are also the main cause of premenstrual syndrome.

PMS complaints

The symptoms caused by PMS occur in the second half of the cycle after ovulation and usually a few days before the onset of the period. During this time, the female body produces more progesterone while the estrogen level drops. This hormonal imbalance can trigger various symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome. After the onset of the period and thus the start of the new cycle, the symptoms slowly subside.

causes

The causes of PMS have not yet been clearly established. However, several factors are said to be responsible, which means that the syndrome is based on a multifactorial origin. The cycle-related hormone fluctuations lead to a hormonal imbalance in the body, which can cause various symptoms. On the other hand, various experts also suspect a connection with psychiatric illnesses from the group of depression. Possible causes could therefore be, for example:

  • family history of mental illness

  • psychosocial conflicts such as

  • stress

  • relationship problems

  • professional overload

Other factors that can trigger PMS symptoms are:

  • Lack of exercise

  • Wrong diet

  • Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine

Symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome can cause various non-specific symptoms such as abdominal pain or headaches, mood swings or sleep problems. “Non-specific” means that they can also occur with other disorders or illnesses.

PMS diary

To check whether the symptoms are actually related to the menstrual cycle, it is helpful to keep a diary - ideally for at least 2 to 3 months. It can also be useful to prepare for a visit to the doctor.

  • How long before menstruation do the symptoms first appear?

  • Do you have pain and if so, where?

  • Do the symptoms regularly occur before the start of your period?

  • Do you only have physical complaints or do you also feel psychologically affected?

Physical symptoms

Physically, PMS is usually clearly noticeable through various symptoms. These include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Circulatory problems, dizziness

  • Hot flashes, sweating

  • Back pain

  • impure skin, pimples

Psychological symptoms

In many cases, affected women not only complain of physical complaints, but also feel psychologically affected. Mood swings and irritability are often not uncommon. In some cases, mild depressive moods can even occur. Other psychological PMS symptoms that are frequently observed are:

  • sudden tantrums
  • depressive moods
  • greater anxiety
  • Lack of interest
  • Lack of motivation
  • inner unrest
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • sleep disorders
  • Hyperactivity

PMS or pregnant?

PMS symptoms and pregnancy signs often show similar symptoms. Therefore, when these symptoms start, many women are often unsure whether they have actually become pregnant. The similar course of symptoms is due to the high progesterone levels that are present in both cases. With PMS, however, the symptoms subside at the start of the period, whereas with pregnancy they persist for up to several months and can also become more severe. Since the period is not a clear exclusion criterion for pregnancy, as it can also be implantation bleeding, you should take a pregnancy test or see a doctor if you are unsure.

Natural remedies

A healthy diet and sufficient exercise support general well-being and strengthen our health. It is therefore not surprising that these factors are also recommended for natural relief of PMS symptoms. In addition, relaxation techniques and meditation exercises can also help to combat PMS symptoms, as they have an antispasmodic and relaxing effect on us.

Depending on the symptoms and the patient, medicinal plants can also be used for treatment. The following have already produced positive results in studies regarding PMS symptoms:

Monk's pepper

Chasteberry, in Latin Vitex agnus-castuus, belongs to the verbena family. Its name comes from the Middle Ages. The plant was used by monks in the monastery as a cheap pepper substitute and was also intended to serve as a means of dampening their urges and lust. In addition, chasteberry has been used since ancient times to treat women's ailments and is a widely used and valued remedy among women. The active components of chasteberry work in a similar way to the body's own messenger substance dopamine. They inhibit the release of the hormone prolactin. The prolactin level drops and the hormonal balance between the hormones estrogen and progesterone is restored.

To FürstenMED Monk’s Pepper 

Red clover

The widespread plant red clover is very popular with insects and serves as a valued feed for many different animals. But red clover also offers us humans numerous positive properties that can affect our health. In addition to the many vital substances and minerals that it provides us with, it can also be used as a medicinal herb for women to relieve menstrual cramps and PMS. The reason for this is the phytohormones it contains, which restore the estrogen balance. In fact, it is said to have the highest phytoestrogen content of all plants.

Lady's mantle

Lady's mantle is, as the name suggests, a traditional remedy in gynecology. It contains tannins (including ellagiannins), flavonoids and bitter substances. Its effect is said to be anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. The plant hormones it contains regulate the female hormone balance and can compensate for deficiencies and reduce menopausal symptoms and premenstrual disorders.

valerian

Like hops and lemon balm, valerian is used as a mild sedative and sleeping aid. It is considered a women's herb because it relieves symptoms during menopause. It helps against nervousness, stomach cramps, headaches, flatulence, tension, and inner restlessness. Valerian can also have a calming effect on PMS. Valerian had a positive effect on PMS symptoms in young women and significantly over the course of the study. This is the result of a study conducted at Azad University, Iran, in which 100 female students with mild to moderate PMS symptoms were included.

Johannis herbs

In the past, people used St. John's wort primarily for burns and to treat wounds. Nowadays, the medicinal plant is actually used as a natural antidepressant. Due to its mood-enhancing and anti-depressant effect, it can also be used to treat PMS symptoms that manifest themselves psychologically. It is particularly effective against mood swings and depressive moods before the period and ensures more serenity.

Please note possible interactions with the anti-baby pill!

Conclusion

Many women are affected every month and sometimes suffer greatly from it: PMS. The reason for this is the changes in the hormone balance that occur over the cycle and cause a significant hormonal imbalance shortly before the onset of the period, which often manifests itself in related complaints that subside again at the beginning of the period. These complaints can sometimes be very stressful and severely limit the everyday life of women. In addition to physical complaints such as

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Back pain

  • Pain in limbs

  • Headache

  • Impure skin

  • Or gastrointestinal complaints

Psychological symptoms can also accompany PMS. These include symptoms such as:

  • depressive moods
  • Lack of motivation
  • inner unrest
  • sleep disorders
  • Hyperactivity

In order to combat these different symptoms, it is not always necessary to resort to medication. Mild complaints in particular can be treated naturally. The following medicinal plants are particularly suitable for this:

  • Monk's pepper

  • Red clover

  • valerian

  • Johannis herbs


Important: This guide is intended as a source of information only. Always consult your doctor if you have acute problems. Under no circumstances should you change the dosage of your medication or stop taking it yourself.


Sources

  1. Beckermann MJ. Premenstrual syndrome - a construct? In: Beckermann MJ, Perl FM (Ed). Gynaecology and Obstetrics. Volume 1. Basel: Schwabe; 2004. pp. 502-527.

  2. Dante G, Facchinetti F. Herbal treatments for alleviating premenstrual symptoms: a systematic review. J Psychosomal Obstet Gynaecol 2011; 32(1): 42-51.

  3. Goerke, K. et al.: Clinical Guide to Gynecology and Obstetrics, Elsevier/Urban & Fischer Verlag, 10th edition, 2018

  4. Jänicke, C. & Grünwald, J.: Alternative healing, Gräfe and Unzer Verlag, 2006

  5. Press release German Society for Gynecology (DGG): New strategies against PMS; March 2012

  6. Spiegel.de; PMS: Are women in a bad mood shortly before their period? (Monday, 03.12.2012)


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