By Dr. Mona Orady
Published: Friday, March 04, 2011
It’s a favorite topic of many comedians, but for those who endure it, PMS is no laughing matter.
The jokes about premenstrual syndrome may stem — at least in part — from a lack of knowledge about its cause, which remains unclear, although hormone changes may play a role.
According to the National Institutes of Health, PMS is estimated to affect as many as 75 percent of women during their childbearing years, primarily women between their late 20s and early 40s with at least one child, a personal or family history of major depression and a history of postpartum depression or an affective mood disorder.
PMS is defined as physical, behavioral and/or emotional symptoms that start two or more weeks after the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period and continue up to a week after a menstrual period ends. The symptoms tend to worsen as women get closer to menopause.
Among the most common symptoms are:
• abdominal fullness
• bloating of the abdomen
• breast tenderness