Premenstrual syndrome

The combination of physical and emotional symptoms that occurs in many women in the week or so before menstruation. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may be so severe that work and social relationships are seriously disrupted. Theories for the cause of PMS include hormonal changes and vitamin or mineral deficiencies, but none have been confirmed. The most common emotional symptoms are irritability, tension, depression, and fatigue. Physical symptoms include breast tenderness, fluid retention, headache, backache, and lower abdominal pain. No single treatment has proved completely successful. Treatments to relieve specific symptoms include diuretic drugs, dietary changes, and relaxation techniques. Pyridoxine (vitamin B) or evening primrose oil may help some women. Oral contraceptives can relieve symptoms by suppressing the normal menstrual cycle. Progesterone supplements are widely used but not always effective.


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