Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by emotional and physical symptoms that can be troubling and cause moderate discomfort for women the week or two before the onset of their menstrual cycle. PMS is estimated to affect up to 40 percent of reproductive-aged women. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of these women experience symptoms so severe that it totally impairs their everyday lifestyle. This severe form of PMS is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The precise etiology of PMS is still unknown; however, it is increasingly believed that the sensitive equilibrium between female sex steroids (the hormones estrogen and progesterone) and neurotransmitters in the brain is altered in women with PMS.
With a wide range of symptoms, both emotional and physical, the first step in successfully treating PMS is for a woman to recognize the changes in her body and mood. Keeping a close record of symptoms, their severity, and the dates they occur within the menstrual cycle is an important tool. Discussing this with a gynecologist can lead to a very successful treatment plan.
lifestyle: set of choices about diet, exercise, job type, leisure activities, and other aspects of life etiology: origin and development of a disease steroids: group of hormones that affect tissue build-up, sexual development, and a variety of metabolic processes hormone: molecules produced by one set of cells that influence the function of another set of cells estrogen: hormone that helps control female development and menstruation neurotransmitter: molecule released by one nerve cell to stimulate or inhibit another
menstrual cycles: the build-up and sloughing off of the lining of the uterus in women commencing at puberty and proceeding until menopause fatigue: tiredness depression: mood disorder characterized by apathy, restlessness, and negative thoughts anxiety: nervousness fatty acids: molecules rich in carbon and hydrogen; a component of fats clinical: related to hospitals, clinics, and patient care calcium: mineral essential for bones and teeth stress: heightened state of nervousness or unease aerobic: designed to maintain adequate oxygen in the bloodstream
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