Premenstrual syndrome is a variable combination of physical and mental symptoms that occur in the luteal phase - between ovulation and menstruation - of the menstrual cycle. The prevalence in the general population is 3-10%.
- Family history of this syndrome
- deficiency of vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium
- age (the syndrome is more common in the 3rd decade of life, and the symptoms are also more aggressive)
- history of anxiety or depression
- sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise)
- Excessive caffeine intake
- poor diet.
- Fluctuating anxiety
- mood swings
- decreased ability to concentrate.
All these symptoms do not interfere with normal functioning and disappear spontaneously with the end of this period.
If the severity increases and affects the functionality, we are talking about another psychiatric condition: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
In Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, symptoms appear regularly during the last week before the menstrual cycle, plus the first day of the cycle, but are absent in the week after menstruation.
To the symptoms mentioned above are added:
- Decreased interest in daily activities
- Changes in appetite - excessive appetite or desire to eat certain foods
- Sleep disorders
- The feeling of bloating.
The characteristics of this disorder are the severity and rhythm of the onset of symptoms - they occur during most months of the previous 12 months.
Psychotropic medication should be prescribed by a psychiatrist who can correctly assess the therapeutic benefits, depending on the possible contraindications and side effects.
Currently recommended medications are fluoxetine or sertraline antidepressants, which may be associated with anxiolytics.
Treatment of physical symptoms recommends a low-sodium diet, calcium and magnesium supplements.
For joint pain, muscle aches and headaches, painkillers can be given. A diet rich in carbohydrates, low in protein at dinner during the late luteal phase can have a beneficial effect by stimulating estrogen synthesis. Relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy have proven useful.