Menstrual syndrome

Menstrual Syndrome: What It Is and How to Treat It

Menstrual syndrome is a set of physical, mental and emotional symptoms experienced by many women during the menstrual cycle. Menstrual syndrome can affect women’s energy levels, mood and quality of life. It is important to recognize when menstrual cycle symptoms are more than typical PMS, as this can be a sign of a larger problem and can interfere with day-to-day activities.

Types of Menstrual Syndrome

There are four main types of menstrual syndrome: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Dysmenorrhea and Perimenopause.

  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): PMS occurs in the first half of the menstrual cycle. Common symptoms can include irritability, depression, bloating, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite and fatigue. PMS can range from mild to severe.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): PMDD is a more severe form of PMS. PMDD is characterized by a strong disruption in a woman's normal functioning and typically has 8 or more various symptoms. Women with PMDD may often experience depression, anxiety, and mood swings, as well as physical symptoms.
  • Dysmenorrhea: Known as painful periods, Dysmenorrhea is a severe form of menstrual cramps including sharp, stabbing pain. Women with dysmenorrhea often experience the feeling that their abdomen is tightening and twisting. It can limit activity and sometimes even require pain medications.
  • Perimenopause: Perimenopause is the period of time leading up to menopause when a woman’s body begins to transition. Symptoms of perimenopause can resemble PMS but may include hot flashes and night sweats, irregular periods, and changes in libido.

Treatment of Menstrual Syndrome

Treatment for menstrual syndrome varies depending upon the severity and type of syndrome, but may include lifestyle changes, medications or more specific medical interventions.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Exercise, proper nutrition, and stress management can help reduce symptoms of menstrual syndrome.
  • Medications: Hormone therapy, antidepressants, and over-the-counter pain relievers may be prescribed.
  • Medical Procedures: For women with severe menstrual pain, specific procedures such as endometrial ablation or hysterectomy may be recommended.

It’s important to discuss all treatment options with your health care provider to determine the best option for you. If lifestyle changes and medications don’t work, there are other options to help manage your menstrual syndrome.