By Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.
Oct 6th, 2013
What is PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, has many symptoms (see Part 1 of this series) that occurs before the menstrual period.
The relief of symptoms doesn’t usually happen until the menstrual flow takes place. More than one in three women suffer from PMS, and approximately one in 20 suffer so severely that it impacts their lives.
How is PMS Diagnosed?
PMS is usually defined as a symptoms the reoccur every month for at least 2 cycles for up to 14 days before menstruation and there is an absence of symptoms for at least 7 days after menstruation. Symptoms will vary from woman to woman.
There is no single test to diagnose PMS. However, there are a few strategies your doctor may use along with a detailed history, physical exam and psychological evaluation to help make the diagnosis, including:
• PMS symptoms diary. Your doctor may ask you to to keep a diary of your PMS symptoms for two or three months in a row. It helps to write down what symptoms you experience, when they occur and how long they last. This helps to track your symptoms and see what times of the month they occur in your monthly cycle. Even though your symptoms may vary from month to month, you will likely see a trend after tracking it for a few months.
Keep a diary to record:
- The type of symptoms you are having
- How severe they are
- How long they last
What Hormone Imbalances cause PMS?
Many specialists have found that PMS is a sign of hormonal imbalances related to high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol (produced by the adrenal glands), too much estrogen & progesterone deficiency (especially during the luteal phase or second-half of a woman’s menstrual cycle) and high levels of androgens (such as DHEA & Testosterone). There may also be changes in brain hormone levels.
Ask your doctor about checking the following (with saliva & urine tests along with regular labwork):
- Adrenal Test
- Thyroid test. Thyroid disease is common and some symptoms of PMS such as weight gain are similar to symptoms of thyroid disease, so it is a good idea to check and evaluate how well your thyroid is functioning to rule out a thyroid problem as one of the causes of your symptoms (detailed thyroid function tests).
- Hormone tests
- Neurotransmitter tests (brain hormones)
- Blood sugar (fasting)
- Insulin (fasting)
Stay Tuned For Part 3 to discover how to naturally reduce PMS symptoms!
About Dr. Roopa Chari, M.D.: "Dr. Roopa Chari is a medical doctor in Internal Medicine and her brother Deepak Chari is an Engineer and Certified Biofeedback Specialist at The Chari Center of Health, an advanced integrative medical center in Encinitas, CA. * Sign up for a FREE 15 minute holistic medical consult with Dr. Chari and/or a FREE 30 minute Stress & Anxiety Relief session with Advanced Voice Biofeedback with Deepak Chari here or call (760) 230-2711."