National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual Syndrome is now widely recognised as a medical condition that affects women in many ways. It consists of approximately 150 different physical and emotional symptoms which occur in the time between ovulation and the start of a period. Women may suffer any number of these to varying intensities each month. The most common problems reported are anxiety, depression, irritability or aggression, lack of concentration, painful swollen breasts, bloated stomach, headaches and craving for sweet things. For many women the symptoms are mild or moderate, but where two or three symptoms are severe, problems can arise - in relationships, with children and at work or school. Diagnosing PMS depends entirely on the timing of the symptoms. They should occur only in the second half of the menstrual cycle and disappear at the start of your period or after the day of heaviest flow. The most reliable method of diagnosis is to keep a record of dates of menstruation and the main symptoms experienced using a menstrual chart which can be obtained from NAPS.
While further research into the cause and treatment of this condition is still needed, PMS may be successfully controlled by making adjustments to your diet or by the use of medication.
NAPS aims to provide help, information and support to PMS sufferers and their families and to promote a better understanding of PMS and its treatment by the medical profession. They have a national helpline (01732 760012) run by professionals and fellow sufferers, a separate line offering advice to partners, an information booklet, regular magazine and the possibility of local support. There is also a message board and chat area on their website.
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