I Am Not Myself Right Before My Period

I hear this so frequently in my office. Cyclic changes in mood and physical discomfort that usually starts after ovulation and ends with a period is called premenstrual syndrome and is often referred to as PMS. Feelings of depression, anxiety, nervous agitation, breast tenderness, and cravings are the typical symptoms of PMS. These symptoms can begin as mild but can become very severe. With age, they can get worse. Many patients complain of feeling excessively bloated. Others feel extremely sensitive, sad, annoyed or easily irritated. Some patients shyly tell me that their feelings are so unstable that they don’t know why they become excessively agitated with their significant other.

The effects of PMS can be disruptive, and cumulatively can take a negative toll on anyone’s mind and body, not to mention those around you or in contact with you on a daily basis including family and friends. I recently treated a 26-year-old patient who for one week prior to her menstruation could not leave the house. Another patient in her 40’s was so bloated she could not put her pants on before her menstrual cycle. Other times, I have received calls from husbands about the change in the mood of their spouse around the time of their periods.

The treatment we offer is in most cases very successful. A combination of special low calorie and low salt diet eliminates much of the bloating. Exercise, especially swimming also tends to mobilize much of the fluid collection in the extremities. Short duration of diuretics can also be used to relieve symptoms that do not respond to diet and exercise. For other symptoms, we try to use natural products to balance the bodies hormonal balance. Every patient is different and the range of unwanted PMS symptoms varies from patient to patient. With an individualized plan of care, we can properly address your symptoms to alleviate your monthly struggle and become as comfortable as possible with your menstrual cycle. In this day and age, there are mobile applications to monitor your menstrual cycle not only to remind you of your time of the month or how many days on average are in your cycle, but also to document and take note of your symptoms, cravings and feelings. If you are able to routinely keep track of certain things that are consistently appearing prior to and during your cycle, we can better address your needs and provide some relief to the symptoms that come and seem to stay too long.

We are happy to report that we have been able to successfully treat our patients and keep many husbands happy!