Pre-Menstrual Tension Syndrome

What is PMS (PMT)?

PMT is the short name for Premenstrual Tension, also known as PMS the Premenstrual Syndrome.

For many women the days leading up to the period each month are horrid and torrid. They usher in a variety of unpleasant symptoms, which may include a selection of the following:

Physical symptoms such as bloating, sore lumpy breasts, spotty and blotchy skin, blurred vision and a feeling of clumsiness emotional turmoil in which these women feel aggressive and tearful and unable to cope with even tiny problems. In short they feel unlovely, unloving and unloved.

Women in this state of mind do not desire the sexual attentions of their partners and yet if the men can get pass the aggression of their women they will often be rewarded by vigorous aggressive sex. Many women, also report that they can reach orgasm more easily at this time than other times in their cycle.

Sad to say, this is also the time of the month when a final decision to divorce is made and also the most likely time for suicide.

What causes all this?

The cause of all this agony is not completely known. We have many different theories, but none explains all the signs and symptoms that are seen.

The hormones are blamed. Either there is too much or too little progesterone and/or estrogen; or an incorrect ratio between the two hormones. Some blame it on the prostaglandin, a group of chemical substances, which are found in high concentrations two weeks before the period, but drop to low levels just before the onset of the period.

The erratic emotional behavior is blamed on oedema (swelling) of the brain cells. Another view is that the chemicals that control brain function are somehow abnormal in this phase of a woman’s cycle. We also know that the blood sugar levels tends to swing wildly up and down in the premenstrual phase, and this can make one feel jittery and insecure.

Some authorities also implicate the level of magnesium in the body’s cells.
Psychologists and psychiatrists feel that PMS is due rather to psychological factors than physical abnormalities. This is an interesting theory; some mental illnesses are encountered more commonly in women who suffer from PMS.

How is PMT treated?

The patient can help herself and the doctor can give medicines:

Lifestyle changes that may help to alleviate PMT

  • To keep the blood sugar level steady one should eat complex starch rather than quick starches. For breakfast eat a baked potato , eat high fibre foods such as peas and beans.
  • Avoid sweets and sugary things.
  • Avoid caffeine, this means leaving out tea and coffee, chocolates and certain cola drinks.
  • Cut down your salt intake to reduce swelling.
  • Leave out alcohol at this stage of the cycle.
  • Reduce intake of animal fats and dairy products.
  • Aerobic exercise also helps by reducing mental tension and improving self-image. You can pound out your aggression on the paving stones rather than on your family members. You need to fancy equipment or expensive gym contracts. Put on your walking shoes and get moving!


A doctor will treat PMT according to her/his belief as to what causes the syndrome.

The fact that there are so many different treatments, indicates that there is no single treatment that is effective for every woman.