PMSWhat is it?Premenstrual syndrome is the
What is it?
Premenstrual syndrome is the term used to describe a number of symptoms that collectively occur for approximately one to two weeks prior to menstruation and abate with the onset of the period or very soon afterward. 1
The female menstrual cycle ideally lasts approximately 28 days. Some women experience irregularities in their menstrual cycle, premenstrual symptoms or menstrual discomfort that interferes with day-to-day life. The reasons for these symptoms can be quite varied and include stress levels, dietary habits, exercise and sleep patterns.
Imbalances between oestrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive
|Abdominal distension||Nervous tension|
|Breast swelling||Mood swings|
|Fatigue and weakness||Depression|
|Cyclic weight gain||tearfulness|
|Fluid retention||Angry outbursts|
|Joint pains and/or back ache||Aggression|
|Pelvic discomfort or pain||Lack of concentration|
|Change in bowel habit||Forgetfulness|
|Palpitations||Insomnia or excess sleepiness|
|Dizziness or fainting|
The medical treatment of PMS either concentrates on symptom relief or on the manipulation of the hormones
Many hormonal medications are used in PMS; however the most common is the contraceptive pill.
There are many alternative treatments for PMS including herbs, essential oils, massage therapy and hydrotherapy have an established history of use. Both local and systemic effects may be achieved. Topical treatments producing a systemic effect by-pass the ‘first pass’ liver metabolism. As a result, a smaller and safer dose can often be used to be used, as the therapeutic agents are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream allowing circulating levels to be maintained for longer periods after application.2
- Trickey, R. 2003, Womens hormones and the Menstrual cycle, Allen & Unwin Aust.
- Tisserand, T and Balacs, R. (1995) Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Churchill Livingstone, 28-34, 259-260, 264-5.