Premenstural Syndrome

A condition with a long-documented history, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) was known in the time of Hippocrates. It first was referenced in an article written by R.T. Frank in 1931, and Dr. Katherina Dalton later discussed symptoms of the condition in her 1964 book Premenstrual Syndrome. Dr. Dalton postulated that the condition stemmed from hormonal causes. She felt the culprit was either low progesterone levels or a discrepancy in the normal relative amount of progesterone compared to estrogen.

Women in general have suffered from the notion that premenstrual syndrome adversely affects the way they function in the world. Everything from murder convictions and felony charges has been reduced to manslaughter and misdemeanors, because of women suffering from premenstrual syndrome. Although some women have used the excuse of premenstrual syndrome to their personal advantage, have voiced concern about this trend resulting in a negative impact on women’s push toward equalization with men. Feminists plead that generalizations about women should not be made when assessing the legal or political aspects of this condition. A slightly different take on the situation has some suggesting that PMS and its potential deleterious effecthas held back many women over the years. This should prompt interest about finding the underlying causes and treating them effectively, so that those women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome are given equal opportunities.

The diagnosis of PMS currently lists the following symptoms typically experienced by women suffering from premenstrual syndrome:  irritability, breast tenderness, bloating, weight gain, carbohydrate craving, emotional instability, depression, headaches, fatigue and insomnia. To fit the syndrome paradigm, the complaints must have presented more than three days before a woman begins her menstrual cycle.

In order to treat a woman’s premenstrual syndrome, her doctor can measure levels of hormones at various points in her cycle. If progesterone and estrogen are both found to be abnormally low, as are beta-endorphin amounts, a physician may treat the affected woman with cooperative progesterone replacement therapy. A supplement of targeted HCG may also be ordered. Additional relief may be obtained with naltrexone, if the hormone replacement therapy does not work as well as hoped.

Interestingly, fluoxetine (Prozac), an antidepressant is more often prescribed for women suffering from PMS than the hormonal approach. This regimen continues even though the hormone replacement therapy has been shown more effective. Women on the hormonal treatment find it more effective, and report a normal, non-groggy affect.