You wake up one morning and find it a little harder to button your pants. Or perhaps you feel the faintest cramping in your lower abdomen. In either case, you know — your period is about to begin. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a medical condition that affects 90% of women and brings with it a wide range of symptoms, as well as varying degrees of severity.
At Shelnutt Gynecology, Dr. Judson Shelnutt and our team specialize in the many conditions that can affect a woman’s reproductive health, and PMS is among the more common issues.
Here, we dive a little deeper into PMS to explore how the condition can affect you and when it’s problematic.
When it comes to PMS, there’s no definitive checklist as the condition can affect women in many different ways. To give you an idea of the incredibly wide range of symptoms that can come with PMS, here are some of the more common complaints:
As you can tell by this list, the effects of PMS can cast a wide net over both your physical and mental health.
When it comes to judging whether your PMS is problematic, this is largely a decision that’s yours to make. Some women with PMS report symptoms that create major disruptions in their lives, like missing work or social engagements, while others consider the symptoms only a mild nuisance.
A small percentage of women — about 5% — suffer from a more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which begins about a week to 10 days before menstruation. To diagnose PMDD, we look for at least five of the following symptoms:
Women with PMDD may also struggle with anxiety or depression.
If you have PMDD or severe PMS, we consider these conditions to be very problematic and encourage you to come see us so that we can explore your treatment options. Any time your personal, social, or professional life is affected by your menstrual cycles, we feel that this shouldn’t be considered “normal.”
When you come in, you should be prepared with a list of your symptoms, as well as a typical timeline of when PMS begins and how long it lasts. Armed with this information, we can run some tests and figure out the best treatment plan, which may include:
The bottom line is that only you can decide whether your PMS is problematic. If you find this is the case, we can help you find solutions. To get started, contact our office in Athens, Georgia, by phone or online booking to set up an appointment today.