The premenstrual syndrome commonly known as PMS is one or a group of symptoms that occur before menstruation or at times even occur during ovulation. These symptoms could be normal or at times even indicate some underlying condition. To know more about PMS, its symptoms, why it happens, and what can be done to deal with it read below.

What are the common PMS symptoms?
         Physically it causes nausea, vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, headache, body pain, generalized tiredness, weight gain, bloating, breast pain, and acne. Emotionally you might experience sleeplessness, frequent crying, depression, mood swings, anger or irritability, food cravings, and poor concentration.

How common is PMS and who is at risk of having it?
         Every 3 out of 4 women experience PMS. Women at their reproductive age between 20 to 30 years are at high risk. And women who smoke and have high BMI also experience PMS. PMS is also genetic i.e. if you have a family history of PMS then most likely will have it.

Why does it occur?
It occurs due to three major reasons:
(1) During ovulation the hormonal levels suddenly peak and before periods it suddenly drops. This fluctuation of hormones rapidly causes various physical and emotional symptoms.
(2) When the hormone drops it causes a fall in the level of dopamine (commonly known as the happy hormone) in the brain. It results in various symptoms like mood swings and depression.
(3) It can occur due to the presence of certain medical conditions

When should you be concerned?
         If the PMS occurs despite of lifestyle changes or if it interferes with your daily activities then seeking medical help is important.

How do you know it is a usual PMS or if there is an underlying condition present?
         Physically PMS cannot be differentiated from other conditions. The only way to diagnose is via lab tests or other diagnostic procedures. PMS usually presents with a pattern so do record the symptoms you experience and how long they last in a diary. Thyroid disorder, various mood disorders, or certain pelvic floor conditions mimic symptoms similar to PMS.

So how to deal with it?
(1) Stay well hydrated. Having herbal tea helps to ease the symptoms.
(2) Cut down on sugar and caffeine. Reduce salt intake. Eat fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and whole grains which are rich in vitamins, folic acid, and calcium. Eating small meals at regular intervals helps in avoiding bloating, constipation, or stomach upset.
(3) Lifestyle modification such as avoiding smoking and alcohol consumption is important. Getting adequate sleep is also necessary.
(4) Exercising regularly for at least 30-40 minutes not only eases the physical symptoms but also the emotional ones as well. Doing yoga also helps in easing the symptoms.
(5) Doing breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and meditation helps with mood swings. Avoid stress. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, and massage also help.
(6) Take a warm bath. It eases pain in the tummy and back. 

         Though these things could help you out, seeking medical help is also important to find the cause behind it and to avoid further complications.