PMT or Pre menstrual syndrome
Women who suffer from a variety of symptoms in the week or fortnight prior to menstruation or who complain of an increase in intensity of pre-existing symptoms premenstrually, with relief at the onset of menses, are described as having premenstrual syndrome. The profile of symptoms reported varies considerably from woman to woman and from culture to culture. Generally the symptoms can be divided into 5 overlapping subgroups, each with characteristic and distinct hormonal characteristics.
- PMT-P – Pain
Crampy pain and reduced pain threshold characterises this group. Evening primrose oil supplementation reduces this symptom
- PMT-A Anxiety
Symptoms of nervous tension, anxiety, mood swings and irritability characterize this group. Biochemically, this group shows high estrogen to progesterone ration. Vitamin B6 and methionine normalizes this ratio. Methionine inactivates estrogen through methylation and thus reduces estrogen excess. It also promotes membrane fluidity that is typically decreased by estrogen. High fibre diet also lowers estrogen by increasing excretion
- PMT-C Cravings
This group shows signs of increased appetite, sweet craving, headache, fatigue, dizziness or fainting and heart pounding. Biochemically they seem to have an exaggerated insulin response to carbohydrate as well as decreased synthesis of prostaglandin PGE1. Magnesium deficiency may also be present. Supplement with DHA/EPA and chromium, lipoic acid and magnesium.
- PMT-D Depression
Depression, crying, forgetfulness, confusion and insomnia may characterize this group. They have a low estrogen to progesterone ratio and elevated adrenal androgens. They appear to have higher body lead burden than others. Amino acids may be beneficial
- PMT-H Hyperhydration
Fluid retention, weight gain, swelling, breast tenderness and abdominal bloating characterize this group. Symptoms have been attributed to increased retention of sodium by the body. Vitamin B6 regulates aldosterone and thereby promotes diuresis. Vitamin E reduces breast symptoms, dietary changes in salt and reduction in coffee help this group.
A woman may have a number of symptoms from each subgroup and not necessarily from one group.
Evidence suggest that many of the symptoms of PMS are dietary imbalances and nutritional deficiencies. Over consumption of refined sugar, salt and animal fat, diary products may contribute to this variable symptom complex, whereas foods high in essential fats such as sunflower seeds may be beneficial.
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