More about the PMS cramp
While dysmenorrhea is a very familiar menstrual symptom, it is not part of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. PMS is a chronic, cyclic mood disorder distinguished by a set of physical, psychological and emotional symptoms that affects approximately four out of 10 women of childbearing age in the next half of their menstrual cycle. PMS is regularly the brunt of jokes and is rarely taken seriously, even by the women who have it. It has been blamed for random, unexplainable, and unacceptable behaviors in women from moodiness to murder. While up to four out of ten women under 50 have reported symptoms of PMS, relatively few are in fact affected by its closely related, but much more severe condition, premenstrual dysphonic disorder.
PMS symptoms emerge to be most troubling in women who smoke, have stressful lives, rarely exercise, get insufficient sleep, or who have a poor diet. In fact, PMS symptoms may be triggered or worsened by a high intake of caffeine, alcohol, salt, red meat or sugary foods despite the fact that many women with PMS have cravings for these products. In some women, the use of oral contraceptives has worsened or fashioned symptoms of PMS. In other women, however, starting or switching birth control pills has concentrated or eliminated PMS symptoms.
In recent years, there has been some argument in the medical community about the definition of PMS. This is since premenstrual discomfort is fairly common among women of childbearing age, affecting about three out of four of all menstruating women, making it quite normal. Some doctors feel that this latter criterion is necessary to make the diagnosis of true PMS. If PMS symptoms are important enough to disrupt a woman's relationships or her normal daily activities, treatment is available and should be considered.
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