Tag Archives: Menstrual cycle

Hot Flashes

Definition:
Hot flashes are sudden feelings of warmth, which are usually most intense over the face, neck and chest. Your skin may redden, as if you’re blushing. Hot flashes can also cause profuse sweating and may leave you chilled…..CLICK & SEE

Although other hormonal conditions can cause them, hot flashes most commonly are due to menopause — the time when a woman’s menstrual periods stop. In fact, hot flashes are the most common symptom of the menopausal transition.

Hot flashes are due to a reduction of FSH and reduced levels of estradiol. They are a form of flushing, a symptom which may have several other causes, but which is often caused by the changing hormone levels that are characteristic of menopause. They are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence.

How often hot flashes occur varies from woman to woman, but usually the range is from one or two a day to one an hour. There are a variety of treatments for particularly bothersome hot flashes.
Symptoms:
Hot flashes, a common symptom of menopause and perimenopause, are typically experienced as a feeling of intense heat with sweating and rapid heartbeat, and may typically last from two to thirty minutes for each occurrence, ending just as rapidly as they began. The sensation of heat usually begins in the face or chest, although it may appear elsewhere such as the back of the neck, and it can spread throughout the whole body. Some women feel as if they are going to faint. In addition to being an internal sensation, the surface of the skin, especially on the face, becomes hot to the touch. This is the origin of the alternative term “hot flush”, since the sensation of heat is often accompanied by visible reddening of the face. Excessive flushing can lead to rosacea.

The symptoms of hot flashes are as follows:

*A sudden feeling of warmth spreading through the upper body and face
*A flushed appearance with red, blotchy skin
*Rapid heartbeat
*Perspiration, mostly on your upper body
*Feeling chilled as the hot flash subsides

Hot flashes vary in frequency — you may have few or many in a day — and each hot flash usually subsides in a few minutes. They’re particularly common at night. Most women who experience hot flashes have them for more than a year, but they usually stop on their own within four to five years.

The hot-flash event may be repeated a few times each week or every few minutes throughout the day. Hot flashes may begin to appear several years before menopause starts and last for years afterwards. Some women undergoing menopause never have hot flashes. Others have mild or infrequent flashes. The worst sufferers experience dozens of hot flashes each day. In addition, hot flashes are often more frequent and more intense during hot weather or in an overheated room, the surrounding heat apparently making the hot flashes themselves both more likely to occur, and more severe.

Severe hot flashes can make it difficult to get a full night’s sleep (often characterized as insomnia), which in turn can affect mood, impair concentration, and cause other physical problems. When hot flashes occur at night, they are called “night sweats”. As estrogen is typically lowest at night, some women get night sweats without having any hot flashes during the daytime.

Types:
Some menopausal women may experience both standard hot flashes and a second type sometimes referred to as “slow hot flashes” or “ember flashes”. The standard hot flash comes on rapidly, sometimes reaching maximum intensity in as little as a minute. It lasts at full intensity for only a few minutes before gradually fading.

Slow “ember” flashes appear almost as quickly but are less intense and last for around half an hour. Women who experience them may undergo them year round, rather than primarily in the summer, and ember flashes may linger for years after the more intense hot flashes have passed.
Young women:
If hot flashes occur at other times in a young woman’s menstrual cycle, then it might be a symptom of a problem with her pituitary gland; seeing a doctor is highly recommended. In younger women who are surgically menopausal, hot flashes are generally more intense than in older women, and they may last until natural age at menopause.

Men:
Hot flashes in men could have various causes. It can be a sign of low testosterone. Another is andropause, or “male menopause”. Men with prostate cancer or testicular cancer can also have hot flashes, especially those who are undergoing hormone therapy with antiandrogens, also known as androgen antagonists, which reduce testosterone to castrate levels. There are also other ailments and even dietary changes which can cause it. Men who are castrated can also get hot flashes

Causes:
The exact cause of hot flashes isn’t known, but it’s likely related to several factors. Research on hot flashes is mostly focused on treatment options. The exact cause and pathogenesis, or causes of vasomotor symptoms (VMS)—the clinical name for hot flashes—has not yet been fully studied. There is hints at reduced levels of estrogen as the primary cause of hot flashes. There are indications that hot flashes may be due to a change in the hypothalamus’s control of temperature regulation.

Diagnosis:
The doctor can usually diagnose hot flashes based on a description of symptoms. To confirm the cause of hot flashes, the doctor may suggest blood tests to check whether the patient is in menopausal transition or other causes.

Treatment:
Hormone replacement therapy:(HRT)……..CLICK & SEE
Hormone replacement therapy may relieve many of the symptoms of menopause. However, oral HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer, stroke, and dementia and has other potentially serious short-term and long-term risks. Since the incidence of cardiovascular disease in women has shown a rise that matches the increase in the number of post menopausal women, recent studies have examined the benefits and side effects of oral versus transdermal application of different estrogens and found that transdermal applications of estradiol may give the vascular benefits lowering the incidences of cardiovascular events with less adverse side effects than oral preparations.

Women who experience troublesome hot flashes are advised by some to try alternatives to hormonal therapies as the first line of treatment. If a woman chooses hormones, they suggest she take the lowest dose that alleviates her symptoms for as short a time as possible. The US Endocrine Society concluded that women taking hormone replacement therapy for 5 years or more experienced overall benefits in their symptoms including relief of hot flashes and symptoms of urogenital atrophy and prevention of fractures and diabetes.

When estrogen as estradiol is used transdermally as a patch, gel, or pessary with micronized progesterone this may avoid the serious side effects associated with oral estradiol HRT since this avoids first pass metabolism (Phase I drug metabolism). Women taking bioidentical estrogen, orally or transdermally, who have a uterus must still take a progestin or micronized progesterone to lower the risk of endometrial cancer. A French study of 80,391 postmenopausal women followed for several years concluded that estrogen in combination with micronized progesterone is not associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The natural, plant-derived progesterone creams sold over the counter contain too little progesterone to be effective. Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa) extract creams are not effective since the natural progesterone present in the extract is not bioavailable.

Selective estrogen receptor modulators:
SERMs are a category of drugs that act selectively as agonists or antagonists on the estrogen receptors throughout the body. Tamoxifen, a drug used in the treatment of some types of breast cancer and which can cause hot flashes as a side effect, RAD1901, under development by Radius Health, Raloxifene and the soy-derived Femarelle (DT56a) are examples of SERMs. Menerba, a botanically derived selective estrogen receptor beta agonist currently under development by Bionovo, works like a SERM, but only activates on the estrogen receptor beta.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors:
SSRIs are a class of pharmaceuticals that are most commonly used in the treatment of depression. They have been found as efficient in alleviating hot flashes. On 28 June 2013 FDA approved Brisdelle (low-dose paroxetine mesylate) for the treatment of moderate-to-severe vasomotor symptoms (e.g. hot flashes and night sweats) associated with menopause. Paroxetine became the first and only non-hormonal therapy for menopausal hot flashes approved by FDA.

Isoflavones:
Isoflavones are commonly found in legumes such as soy and red clover. The two soy isoflavones implicated[who?] in relieving menopausal symptoms are genistein and daidzein, and are also known as phytoestrogens. The half life of these molecules is about eight hours, which might explain why some studies have not consistently shown effectiveness of soy products for menopausal symptoms. Although red clover (Trifolium pratense) contains isoflavones similar to soy, the effectiveness of this herb for menopausal symptoms at relatively low concentrations points to a different mechanism of action.

Other phytoestrogens:
It is believed[who?] that dietary changes that include a higher consumption of phytoestrogens from sources such as soy, red clover, ginseng, and yam may relieve hot flashes.

Ginseng: Very few studies exist on the effect of ginseng for relief of menopausal symptoms. In a large double-blinded randomized controlled trial, reduction in hot flashes was not statistically significant but showed a strong trend towards improvement. Lack of statistical significance suggests future research, but does not meet the scientific bar for ginseng to be deemed effective.
Flaxseed: There have also been several clinical trials using flaxse Flaxseed is the richest source of lignans, which is one of three major classes of phytoestrogen. Lignans are thought to have estrogen agonist and antagonist effects as well as antioxidant properties. Flaxseed and its lignans may have potent anti-estrogenic effects on estrogen receptor positive breast cancer and may have benefits in breast cancer prevention efforts. One recent study done in France, looked at four types of lignans, including that found in flaxseed (Secoisolariciresinol) in a prospective cohort study to see if intake predicted breast cancer incidence. The authors report lowered risk of breast cancer among over 58,000 postmenopausal women who had the third highest quartile of lignan intake. There have been a few small pilot studies that have tested the effect of flaxseed on hot flashes. Currently there is a large study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that is ongoing, but not accepting any new participants. The rationale for the study is that estrogen can relieve the symptoms of menopause, but can also cause the growth of breast cancer cells. Flaxseed may reduce the number of hot flashes and improve mood and quality of life in postmenopausal women not receiving estrogen therapy.

lLife style changes:
According to the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) there are foods and some unhealthy lifestyle habits that can aggravate or trigger hot flashes such as: hot/spicy foods, alcohol, or caffeine. Further, for women who are overweight or obese, a gradual weight loss can have potential benefits for menopausal symptom reduction.

Acupuncture:
Acupuncture has been suggested to reduce incidence of hot flashes in women with breast cancer and men with prostate cancer, but the quality of evidence is low.

Yoga:
Doing Yoga with Pranayama, meditation, slow, deep breathing or other stress-reducing techniques is the best way to get read of the symptoms.
Prevention:
If the hot flashes are mild, one may be able to manage them with lifestyle changes by following these tips:

*Keeping cool. Slight increases in the body’s core temperature can trigger hot flashes. It is adviced to dress in layers so that one can remove clothing at the time feeling warm.One can open windows or use a fan or air conditioner. Lower the room temperature, if possible. If one feels a hot flash coming on, sip a cold drink or water.

*Avoid : Hot and spicy foods, caffeinated beverages,smoking and alcohol can trigger hot flashes. So they are to be avoided as much as possible.

*Lose weight. If  one  is overweight or obese, losing weight might help to ease one’s hot flashes.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_flash
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hot-flashes/basics/definition/con-20034883

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Bauhinia herrerae

 

Botanical Name : Bauhinia herrerae
Family:Leguminosae/Fabaceae
Subfamily: Caesalpinioideae
Tribe: Cercideae
Genus: Bauhinia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms : Bauhinia klugii Standl.,Schnella herrerae Britton & Rose

Common Name :Cowfoot Vine

Habitat : Native to South America

Description:

Bauhinia trees typically reach a height of 6–12 m and their branches spread 3–6 m outwards. The lobed leaves usually are 10–15 cm across.

CLICK TO SEE..>…….....(01)....(PICTURES  OF Bauhinia herrerae).…..

The five-petaled flowers are 7.5–12.5 cm diameter, generally in shades of red, pink, purple, orange, or yellow, and are often fragrant. The tree begins flowering in late winter and often continues to flower into early summer. Depending on the species, Bauhinia flowers are usually in magenta, mauve, pink or white hues with crimson highlights

Medicinal Uses:
The stem is used as an astringent to staunch diarrhea and bleeding, to reduce hemorrhage, and to wash wounds.  Boil a handful of chopped vine in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes; allow to cool and drink ½ cup 6 times daily for headaches, internal wounds, and bleeding, or 2 cups in ½ hour for hemorrhage.  Use this same decoction to wash bleeding or infected wounds.  For headaches, mash a handful of leaves in 1 quart of water, place in sun for 1 hour and wash head with this water.  The leaves are a component of some of the traditional bath mixtures used to treat many ailments.

This is an old remedy for birth control among Maya women, now apparently mostly forgotten.  Prepared from a handful of vine that has been boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes, a cup is consumed before each meal all during the menstrual cycle.  It is said that this dose is effective for up to 6 months.  Drinking this decoction during 9 menstrual cycles is said to produce irreversible infertility in women.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.nybg.org/bsci/belize/Bauhinia_herrerae.html.
http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl/record/ild-10345
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhinia

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Cyst

Definition:
A cyst is a closed, saclike structure that contains fluid, gas, or semisolid material and is not a normal part of the tissue where it is located. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body in people of any age. Cysts vary in size; they may be detectable only under a microscope or they can grow so large that they displace normal organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.

Click to see the picture

Ganglion Cyst

Ganglion Cyst (Photo credit: Glenn E. Malone)

A collection of pus is called an abscess, not a cyst. Once formed, a cyst could go away on its own or may have to be removed through surgery.

Locations:
*Acne cyst – Pseudocysts associated with cystic acne. Actually an inflammatory nodule with or without an associated epidermoid inclusion cyst.
*Arachnoid cyst (between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane)
*Baker’s cyst or popliteal cyst (behind the knee joint)
*Bartholin’s cyst
*Breast cyst
*Buccal bifurcation cyst
*Calcifying odontogenic cyst
*Chalazion cyst (eyelid)
*Choroid plexus cyst (brain)
*Colloid cyst
*Cysticercal cyst (the larval stage of Taenia sp. (Crain’s backs))
*Dentigerous cyst (associated with the crowns of non-erupted teeth)
*Dermoid cyst (ovaries, testes, many other locations from head to tailbone)
*Epididymal cyst (found in the vessels attached to the testes)
*Ganglion cyst (hand/foot joints and tendons)
*Glandular odontogenic cyst
*Glial cyst (in the brain)
*Gartner’s duct cyst (vaginal or vulvar cyst of embryological origin)
*Hydatid cyst (larval stage of Echinococcus granulosus (tapeworm))
*Hydrocele (testicle)
*Keratocyst (in the jaws, these can appear solitary or associated with the Gorlin-Goltz or Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome. *The latest World Health Organization classification considers Keratocysts as tumors rather than cysts)
*Liver cystic disease
*Meibomian cyst (eyelid)
*Mucoid cyst (ganglion cysts of the digits)
*Nabothian cyst (cervix)
*Ovarian cyst (ovaries, functional and pathological)
*Paradental cyst
*Paratubal cyst (fallopian tube)
*Periapical cyst (The periapical cyst, otherwise known as radicular cyst, is the most common odontogenic cyst.)
*Pericardial cyst
*Peritoneal cyst (lining of the abdominal cavity)
*Pilar cyst (cyst of the scalp)
*Pilonidal cyst (skin infection near tailbone)
*Renal cyst (kidneys)
*Polycystic ovary syndrome
*Pineal gland cyst
*Radicular cyst (associated with the roots of non-vital teeth, also known as Periapical cyst)
*Residual cyst
*Sebaceous cyst (sac below skin)
*Spermatocele (testicle)
*Tarlov cyst (spine)
*Trichilemmal cyst – Same as a pilar cyst. A familial cyst of the scalp.
*Vocal fold cyst

Cystic fibrosis:
Despite being described in 1938 as the microscopic appearance of cysts in the pancreas, cystic fibrosis is an example of a genetic disorder whose name is related to fibrosis of the cystic duct and does not involve actual cysts

Cystic neoplasm:
Most cysts in the body are benign (dysfunctional) tumors, the result of plugged ducts or other natural body outlets for secretions. However sometimes these masses are considered neoplasm:

*Dermoid cyst
*Keratocyst
*Calcifying odotogenic cyst

Symptoms:
Sometimes you can feel a cyst yourself when you feel an abnormal “lump.” For example, cysts of the skin or tissues beneath the skin are usually noticeable. Cysts in the mammary glands (breasts) also may be palpable (meaning that you can feel them when you examine the area with your fingers). Cysts of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual.

Causes:
Cysts can arise through a variety of processes in the body, including

#”wear and tear” or simple obstructions to the flow of fluid,

#infections,

#tumors,

#chronic inflammatory conditions,

#genetic (inherited) conditions,

#defects in developing organs in the embryo.

Most cysts arise due to the types of conditions listed above and are only preventable to the extent that the underlying cause is preventable.

Diagnosis:
Cysts of internal organs such as the kidneys or liver may not produce any symptoms or may not be detected by the affected individual. These cysts often are first discovered by imaging studies (X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography or CAT scan, and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI). Cysts may or may not produce symptoms, depending upon their size and location.

Treatment:
The treatment for a cyst depends upon the cause of the cyst along with its location. Cysts that are very large and result in symptoms due to their size may be surgically removed. Sometimes the fluid contained within a cyst can be drained, or aspirated, by inserting a needle or catheter into the cyst cavity, resulting in collapse of the cyst. Radiologic imaging may be used for guidance in draining (aspirating) cyst contents if the cyst is not easily accessible. Drainage or removal of a cyst at home is not advised.

Surgical removal of a cyst is sometimes necessary. If there is any suspicion that a cyst is cancerous, the cyst is generally removed by surgery or a biopsy is taken of the cyst wall (capsule) to rule out malignancy. In certain cases, aspirated fluid from a cyst is examined under a microscope to determine if cancer cells are present in the cyst.

If a cyst arises as part of a chronic medical condition (for example, in polycystic ovary syndrome or fibrocystic breast disease), treatment is generally directed at the underlying medical condition.

Prognosis:
The majority of cysts are benign conditions and do not result in long-term or serious complications. However, cysts that are associated with malignancy or serious infections can have a poor prognosis.

Prevention:
Prevention of cyst formation is only possible to the extent to which prevention of the underlying cause of the cyst is possible. Most kinds of cysts are not preventable.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyst
http://www.medicinenet.com/cysts/article.htm

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Lumps and Bumps

PapillomaMost lumps are benign, but it is very important to be sure exactly what they are and find out if they need any  treatment.

Benign vs malignant :……....click & see
Lumps are normally referred to as tumours, and they may be benign or malignant. In a tumour, one particular type of cell (such as a glandular, fat or muscle cell) has escaped the normal controls on growth and started to multiply.

The most important characteristic is whether these tumour cells can invade other adjacent cell types, and spread around the body (i.e. they are malignant tumours) or not (in which case they are benign).

Benign tumours:-
Benign tumours include :

•Cysts: lumps filled with fluid. Common types include sebaceous cysts on the skin, filled with greasy sebum, and ovarian cysts….
Nodules: formed in inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, sarcoid and polyarteritis…….
•Lipomas: lumps of fat cells….
Fibromas and fibroademonas: lumps of fibrous or fibrous and glandular tissue…..
Haematoma: lump formed by blood escaping into the tissues – simply a large bruise…..
Haemangioma: lump formed by extra growth of blood vessels……
•Papilloma: formed from skin or internal membrane cells, for example warts….

Benign tumours do not invade or spread. They can grow quite large without causing problems, although that doesn’t mean they’re totally harmless because their growth may start to damage the other tissues or organs around them.

This is a particular problem with a type of brain tumour called a meningioma, which grows from cells in the membranes that surround the brain (the meninges). Although benign, the pressure within the skull from the growing meningioma can cause severe headaches and may be life threatening if the tumour is not removed.

Benign tumours can cause others problems, from simply looking unsightly to releasing excess hormones.

Malignant tumours:-
Malignant tumours are also known as cancers. They invade the tissues around them and spread to other parts of the body by sending out cancer cells into the lymphatic system or through the blood stream.

These cells are deposited in other areas of the body, particularly the lungs, liver, brain and bones, to start ‘secondary’ tumours (also called metastases) at the new sites. Most malignant tumours are life threatening.

Breast tumours:-
•Benign: mostly happens at younger age. Usually a round smooth lump with a border that feels separate to the rest of the breast. Changes may occur in the lump with the menstrual cycle, being more obvious just before a period. The lump may be tender.
Malignant: mostly happens at older age. Usually a craggy or irregular lump, which may be seen to tether the skin There may be other symptoms such as discharge from the nipple. There may be a family history of breast cancer especially if at a young age.
Women are advised to be on the look out for lumps in their breasts. However, among younger women at least, lumps are far more likely to be benign – in women under 40, more than nine out of ten breast lumps are benign. But these lumps still cause a lot of anxiety until they are sorted out.

The most common benign breast conditions are fibrocystic change, benign breast tumours and breast inflammation. These are common problems, in fact fibrocystic change used to be known as fibrocystic disease but, as it affects more than 50 per cent of women at some point, it was thought it could no longer be considered a disease.

Fibroadenomas (sometimes called breast mice because they can be moved around) are particularly common in women in their 20s or 30s. They are benign and not cancerous.

In most cases these lumps are quite harmless, although now and then they may cause troublesome symptoms such as tenderness (especially as many are influenced by hormone levels and tend to get more swollen and painful along with other menstrual symptoms).

Malignant breast tumours mostly occur in older women, and tend to be accompanied by other symptoms such as discharge from the nipple. The lump may feel craggy or irregular.

Women who have a family history of breast cancer, especially breast cancer at a young age, have an increased risk of malignant tumours.

Is it cancerous?
Sometimes it’s fairly clear that a lump is either benign or malignant, but further tests may be required, including x-rays, ultrasound or biopsy. Often the best way to get an answer is to remove the whole lump and send it to the laboratory for analysis.

Benign lumps may not need to be removed but this is usually the most effective way to reassure someone because, whatever the problem, it’s gone

If you find a lump
•Get a doctor’s opinion – no one minds checking hundreds of harmless lumps if it means that one malignant or cancerous lump is caught early.
•Don’t hide a lump or fret silently about it – if it does prove to be malignant the sooner it’s dealt with the greater the chance of cure.
•Bear in mind that most lumps, especially in younger people, are benign or relatively harmless.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Source:BBC Health

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Women are Sometimes Unreasonable

Women are often maligned and labelled as “unreasonable, unrealistic, illogical and hysterical”, even when their statements are reasonable and logical. “Blame it on the hormones” is the usual explanation from a male-dominated society. Physicians (mostly male) in the 19th century, unaware of hormone levels, concluded that somehow all this behaviour was connected to the presence of a uterus (from the Greek word hystera which means womb). They sometimes recommended hysterectomy to remove the root cause of these problems and render these women “normal”.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Unfortunately, some surgeons today, too, subscribe to this view. Women in the reproductive age are advised a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, once it has finished its reproductive function, to relieve them of all their physical and psychological symptoms.

Yet 15 per cent of women suffer from unreasonable anger, excessive sensitivity, paranoid thoughts, anxiety, depression, uncontrollable crying spells, and bizarre food cravings during the pre-menstrual period. In 0.4 per cent, the symptoms may be severe enough to be labelled psychotic. These symptoms are called pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). They are not because of the presence of the uterus, but are attributed to the body’s response to normal changes in the hormonal (oestrogen and progesterone) ratios during the course of a menstrual cycle.

In PMS sufferers, there’s a lack of perfect synchronisation in the hormone levels, both at the pituitary-hypothalamic level in the brain and at the level of the ovaries (not uterus). Surges and dips cause changes in the biochemical neurotransmitters (serotonin) and precipitate the depressed “low feeling”. Attempts to alleviate the depression and push up neurotransmitter levels lead to food cravings and binge eating.

The mental changes can be disruptive to the family and in the workplace. By the time the distraught family persuades the woman to seek medical help, the onset of menstruation has restored the woman’s Jekyll-and-Hyde personality to normal. Unfortunately, the menstrual cycle and mood swings repeat themselves month after month.

PMS is commoner between the ages of 30 and 45. This led to the erroneous belief that it was in some way connected with approaching menopause. This isn’t true. However, this is the time when women experience the maximum stress in both their family life and career. They often fail to cope with the combination of stress and hormonal imbalances.

Some physical changes can be produced as a result of the hormones. Fluid retention can result in a measurable weight gain (1-2kg). This can make clothes tighter. There may be backache, joint pain, breast tenderness and palpitations.

Treatment becomes imperative when the mood swings make women depressed and suicidal, or psychotic and murderous. (Most murderesses committed their crime during their pre-menstrual phase). Also, job efficiency and interpersonal relationships may be affected because of tiredness, fatigue, sensitivity and ill temper...click & see.

It is difficult to convince women with PMS that they need help, especially since they are normal for around 20 days in a month. Also, the sensitivity varies from woman to woman. Some with mild forms may be acutely conscious of their problem, while others with severe degrees of PMS may rationalise their behaviour. To avoid PMS,

Try to maintain a body mass index (weight divided by height in metre squared) as close to 23 as possible

Instead of three large meals, eat six small meals at regular three-hour intervals. Add at least six helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables, one with each meal. These are high in fibre and beneficial antioxidants. Fibres delay digestion and absorption, helping to maintain a steady blood glucose level with no depression-inducing dips

Reduce the salt intake in cooked food to one teaspoon a day

Avoid fried, salted snacks and chocolate

Reduce the use of caffeine by cutting down on carbonated colas, tea and coffee

Do regular aerobic exercise such as an hour of walking, jogging, cycling, climbing stairs or swimming to reduce stress. Exercise improves blood circulation and reduces bloating and fatigue. It produces a sense of well being. It boosts the body’s natural production of endorphins, which acts as a mood elevator

Daily supplements of vitamins and minerals may be administered to relieve some PMS symptoms. A multivitamin capsule with B6 (100 mcg), B complex, vitamin E (400 IU) and vitamin C (100mg) and calcium (1,000mg) supplementation is beneficial

Capsules of evening primrose oil, oral contraceptive pills, low dose diuretic therapy, mild antidepressants and tranquilisers have been tried and have anecdotally helped some sufferers.

PMS tends to run in families. This may be because the hormone ratios are inherited, leading to similar behaviour. This becomes more likely because of a comparable lifestyle, with improper diet and inadequate physical activity.

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Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)