Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to premenstrual syndrome.

Q: Do women with PMS have different hormone levels?

A: No. Women with PMS do not have too little or too much estrogen or progesteroneHormone levels in women with PMS are normal throughout the cycle, but the effects of the hormones are different depending on the woman.

Q: Can PMS mimic other diseases?

A: Definitely. Women who believe they have PMS may have other conditions, including a thyroid problemanxiety disorderpanic attacks,diabetes, or even early menopause. The only way to be sure that these conditions are not present is work with your doctor.

Q: Can my PMS be depression?

A: Depression and PMS are different. Nonetheless, some studies have shown that women with PMS may also be genetically predisposed to depression. There is evidence that antidepressants, bright-light treatments, or counseling may help.

Q: Can PMS worsen other medical and psychiatric problems?

A: Yes. Women with a large variety of conditions experience worsening of the symptoms during the one to two weeks before they get their period. These conditions include migraines, diabetes, asthma, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, seizures, depression, substance abuse, anxiety disordersand eating disorders.

Q: What about a woman with PMS on the birth control pill?

A: The birth control pill contains high levels of an estrogen-like hormone and a progesterone-like hormone. Taking these hormones may cause premenstrual symptoms. Women who experience PMS while on the pill should consider using another method of birth control. An accurate diagnosis of PMS cannot be made in a woman taking the pill.

Q: Can I have PMS when I am not menstruating?

A: Yes. There are certain times when women of childbearing age can have PMS but are not getting their periods. These include when you are nursing, having erratic periods, while you are going through peri-menopause, or have had a hysterectomy.

Q: Can I get menstrual cramps if I have PMS?

A: Yes. You can have both. However, menstrual cramps usually occur while you have your period, and PMS occurs mainly before your period.

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