With PMS, or pre-menstrual syndrome, affecting almost 30% of all menstruating women, it’s no wonder that looking for a way to alleviate the symptoms is a high priority for females. Instead of having to wait for PMS to be over, women can take a more proactive approach to managing this time of the month. And for those 5 to 10% of women that also have more severe forms of PMS, any additional things they can do to help offset their signs help not only them, but everyone in their lives.
What is PMS
PMS is a syndrome that occurs once each month for many women. It can vary from being barely noticeable to being something that’s a bit more obvious in some cases. With over 150 symptoms associated with PMS, it can be hard to make an official diagnosis. Some of the more common symptoms include:
Weight gain of up to ten pounds in some women
Moodiness and crankiness, angry outbursts
Abdominal pain and bloating
Food cravings and appetite changes
These symptoms signal a change in the body’s hormone levels preceding menstruation. As the body begins to get ready to produce an egg during the cycle, the body temperature can increase and these symptoms can occur until the egg is released into the fallopian tubes for fertilisation. When the egg is not fertilised, it is shed along with the built up lining of the uterus to produce a period. When this happens, hormones return to normal levels and PMS symptoms subside in most women.
For many women, the symptoms begin about a week before their period or even earlier and for a longer period of time. In some severe cases, women can experience extreme changes in mood and ability to reason. Those cases require prescribed medications in order to help the woman feel better during this time.
Treatments Used to Treat PMS
It’s not necessarily possible to treat PMS without eliminating the menstrual cycle altogether. Since PMS occurs when hormone levels fluctuate, in order to prevent it, you would need to create a cycle in which hormone levels are steadier. During pregnancy, for example, this can occur.
To mimic the hormonal effects of pregnancy, some women will begin to take birth control pills as a way to lessen their PMS symptoms. These pills are synthetic hormones that create the idea in your body that hormone levels are steadier and can reduce any ill effects from the menstrual cycle in addition to preventing pregnancy.
There are also prescription medications that are being used to help in severe cases of PMS as well as some over the counter medications that can help reduce moderate PMS symptoms.
The Usefulness of Fish Oil in PMS
Some studies on the effectiveness of fish oil seem to indicate that something other than hormones might be playing a role in PMS symptoms. Chemicals called eicosanoids seem to be produced in higher amounts during the onset of PMS, the discovery of which might lead to more effective treatments. That said, in fish oils, there is a chemical compound called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that is derived from the Omega 3 fatty acids. This seems to help regulate the levels of these chemicals in the body, thus reducing the effects of PMS.
In one study, women were given fish oil or a placebo for two months, nothing their PMS symptoms and then the two groups switched pills to see what would happen. The women that took fish oil in both parts of the study reported less pain and fewer PMS symptoms.
The anti-inflammatory effects of fish oil in the body can also help in PMS pain as well as cramping during the actual menstrual cycle. By helping to reduce the inflammation in the body, the pain can be lessened dramatically. But instead of using fish oil as a sort of analgesic, it’s best taken on a regular basis throughout the cycle to balance the levels of EPA in the body.
What Women Need to Know
The female body is often more difficult to understand as the reproductive cycle can affect other parts of the body so easily as evidenced by the issues with PMS. Fish oils can help in other ways as well. Women who are going through menopause will also experience dips in their hormone levels, often resulting in problems that look and feel a lot like PMS. To help reduce these effects, taking fish oil has become a more popular piece of advice from doctors and gynaecologists.
The use of fish oil in the prevention and regulation of PMS symptoms has been proven effective in a number of studies. While the female body might still be difficult to explain, nature seems to have provided its own answer to the problems of the menstrual cycle. Fish oil is side effect free and inexpensive to use without a trip to the stirrups of the doctors office.
Tags: breast tenderness, doctors, effects, EPA, Fish, food cravings, medications, menstrual cycle, PMS, pms symptoms, pre menstrual syndrome, prevention, symptoms, water retention, women | Category: News & Education, PMS |