Premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome is characterised by different symptoms which occur before and during the menstrual period. They include mood swings, tightness in the breasts and pain in the lower abdomen. Different medications such as herbal supplements, pain-relievers and contraceptives are used to treat it.

Around 8 out of 10 women suffer from symptoms before their menstrual period. In the case of premenstrual syndrome, these symptoms are so severe that the quality of life of those affected is impaired. The precise cause of premenstrual syndrome is unknown. The female sex hormones play a significant role, without a doubt. Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome seem to react particularly sensitively to the hormonal changes during the female cycle. Women over the age of 30 are affected in particular. With menopause and the absence of the menstrual period, the symptoms disappear.

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome vary. The characteristic symptoms are a combination of psychological and physical complaints which start a few days before the menstrual period. The psychological complaints included mood changes such as irritability, sadness, lethargy or aggression. Headaches, water retention in the hands and feet, breasts that are painful to the touch and cramping in the lower abdomen are typical physical symptoms.

Menstrual bleeding disorders are not part of pre-menstrual syndrome. Menstrual bleeding disorders are described in the menstrual disorders section.

Premenstrual syndrome is diagnosed on the basis of the typical symptoms which occur in connection with the menstrual period. The diagnostic examinations include a hormonal analysis of the blood and ruling out other causes such as endometriosis or hyperthyroidism.

The treatment depends on the severity and extent of the complaints. Relaxation exercises or herbal supplements are often already of some help. Pain-relievers are used to combat any pain. If the patient is extremely depressed, mood-enhancing medications (antidepressants) can be used.

Hormonal contraception is a very effective way of treating premenstrual syndrome. If ovulation is prevented with hormones, the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome disappear.