Although there has not been established an exact cause or causes of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it has been linked to the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. We do know that PMS appears to be more common among identical twin girls, and those women with a family history of PMS or those who suffer from depression or are bipolar.It may be that genetic factors play a role in who develops PMS. Some scientists say that the central-nervous-system neurotransmitter interactions with the monthly hormones put out by the reproductive system may also play a role in PMS, particularly PMS is thought to be linked to the activity of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter within the brain. Studies show that up to 40% of women who have PMS, also have a significant decline in the circulating serum levels of beta-endorphin. Beta-endorphin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter.
Once a female is diagnosed with PMS a treatment plan can be developed. There are many treatments that have been deemed to be effective for the relief of PMS symptoms. Treatment is usually a combination of dietary changes, SSRIs, Hormone intervention, and supportive therapy.
Dietary changes such as calcium supplementation, adding vitamin E and vitamin B6 as well as magnesium, manganese and tryptophan may be beneficial. Doctors also suggest avoiding salt, caffeine and alcohol.
Medications such as SSRIs can be effective at reducing some symptoms especially the more severe symptoms of PMS. The drug fluoxetine has been used widely in PMS studies along with other drugs such as clomipramine, fluvoxamine, nefadozone, paroxetine, and also sertraline. Intermittent therapy or continuous drug regimens have both been used with success.
There are many commercialized medications such as Pamprin on the market that are advertised as being just for women who suffer from PMS.
Women have also found effective relief using acetaminophen or aspirin for the symptoms of various pains associated with PMS. Diuretics have been used to relieve the symptom of bloating.
Hormonal interventions in the form of hormonal contraception in the oral pill or the contraceptive patch form, as well as progesterone support have been used with adequate results.
Women experiencing the more severe form of PMS have also been treated with Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists but these have a significant potential for side effects.
Supportive therapy includes evaluation, informational counseling, and reassurance from professional medical groups specializing in the care of those suffering from PMS. Women with PMS have also found that if they join support groups where they can find others who also suffer from PMS they can find comfort in being able to relate to those who completely and really understand what they are going through.
A woman can reduce her symptoms by finding support among family members, friends and others in her community.
She can also find ways of coping with PMS using exercise such as aerobics and relaxation techniques such as yoga.