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PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is experienced by an estimated 85 percent of all women at some point during their lives. PMS can be defined as a cluster of symptoms which interfere with the woman's life. The symptoms usually begin 5 to 11 days before the start of menstruation. Symptoms often increase in severity when menstruation begins, and then disappear dramatically. These changes are attributed to changing hormone levels in the body.

Among these symptoms are: weight gain, breast swelling and tenderness, abdominal distention, water retention, backache, acne, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, herpes/cold sores, bruising easily, joint pain/arthritis, body aches, poor concentration, difficulty making decisions, insomnia, greater need for sleep, headache, anxiety, mood swings, depression, crying spells, cravings for sweets or salty foods.

The real cause for PMS is still unknown. The incidence of PMS seems to increase with age, so as a teenager you may not experience PMS. It seems to be less common in women in their teens and twenties, so as you get older you may find yourself experiencing PMS.

Although PMS is clearly related to the production cycle of ovarian hormones, these symptoms are not directly related to the levels of these hormones. Fluctuations in the balance of estrogen and progesterone may be one of the causes of PMS. I know this sounds confusing, it is still confusing many medical people. One hormonal fluctuation can cause one symptom which leads to another symptom, and so on.

Estrogen excesses, progesterone deficiencies, Vitamin B6 deficiencies, low levels of serotonin (a brain chemical), an excess of prolactin (a protein hormone that induces lactation), and altered glucose metabolism are among the many different theories that attempt to explain PMS, but none have been proven.

In Sept. of 2002, researchers discovered that PMS is not a simple result of an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone — commonly referred to as “female hormones”, or any other single hormone. A number of studies have found nothing abnormal in the levels or ratios of these hormones in women who experience PMS.

A complex interaction of neurohormones and other brain chemicals are suspected to have a more direct relationship in triggering PMS. Exactly how these brain chemicals change with or affect the menstrual cycle remains unclear. However, treatment studies are becoming more focused and will most likely soon lead to a better understanding of the menstrual cycle and the effects of hormones on human behavior.

For example, three recent studies have pointed to calcium deficiency as a main culprit causing premenstrual syndrome. Therefore, calcium supplementation may go a long way toward helping you to relieve your PMS symptoms.

In one study, researchers found that women who received 1,200 mg of calcium carbonate each day for three menstrual cycles had a 50 percent reduction in PMS symptoms particularly mood swings or depression, pain, cravings, and water retention — plus many of the other symptoms, as well.

Calcium deficiency triggers an elevation of female hormones in the body to stabilize the imbalance. The relationship between the abnormal calcium levels and female hormones triggers PMS symptoms. If you correct this imbalance, you will return hormone levels to their normal range. Some experts think that PMS may be a simple mineral deficiency, and that PMS symptoms could be a monthly reminder to you that you aren't consuming enough calcium, and possibly not enough vitamin D.

For many years, PMS was believed to be purely psychological. Many women were even diagnosed as being mentally ill from PMS. We now know that PMS is a physical problem involving many of the bodies hormones that work together normally, but are imbalanced during this time of a women's cycle.

Treatment is individualized depending on the type and severity of symptoms. It may include changing what you eat, over-the-counter drugs (ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve), or medication prescribed by your health care provider. One approach to managing PMS provides medical and social support that may include education of the patient and her family and eliminating fear and incorrect beliefs about menstruation.

If you suffer from PMS see your health care provider or gynecologist. One of the most important strategies for coping with premenstrual discomfort is developing self-awareness. The more you are aware of a pattern, the better able you will be to develop strategies to recognize and cope with your symptoms, whatever they may be.

When the chemistry of the brain is better understood, we might get a better understanding of this complex disorder that produces such a wide range of symptoms for so many women. The true incidence and nature of PMS has only recently been recognized by some health care providers, and its cause and treatment are still being studied.

While the numbers are staggering the medical profession remains at odds when it comes to identifying a cause, diagnosis and effective treatment. Today many doctors fail to acknowledge the existence of PMS; most lack the knowledge and available time required to effectively treat this female anomaly.

You may find that a female health care provider is more empathetic to your needs if you suffer from PMS.

Treat PMS Symptoms Naturally! Femalite by Native Remedies is a 100% natural, safe, effective herbal remedy for treating the most troublesome symptoms of PMS.

Get Info on Dong Quai for Hormone Balancing and PMS - (Great for PMS, I used it for years when I still had ovaries.) ~ Amy, RN ~

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