What causes PMS and what can we do to lessen the pain every month? Scientists have found it difficult to identify a single cause of PMS. Theories include nutritional factors, hormonal disruptions, chemical changes and emotional or psychological factors. It is likely each of these factors plays a part in PMS, or Pre-Menstrual Syndrome.

If my mother suffered PMS is it likely this is a hereditary condition? There is a tendency for women whose mother or sisters have PMS to have a higher chance of developing symptoms, so there may well be a genetic component. As we are complex in the way our mind influences our physical body and our body responds to chemical and hormonal triggers, a combination of genetic, physiological, and environmental causes are likely. These triggers will vary from person to person, however, and just because other women in your family have suffered PMS, does not mean you are doomed to the same. There are many interacting factors in the story of PMS as we shall see.

The menstrual cycle initiates changes in hormones, which impact the physical, emotional, and psychological states of a woman, and coincide with PMS symptoms each monthly cycle. In response to declining levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone that occur just prior to menstruation, symptoms of PMS can become more acute. However the exact role of these hormones is still being investigated.
Various chemicals that affect the nervous system, called neurochemicals, also have been implicated in the severity of PMS. Hormones and neurochemicals may interact to produce PMS symptoms.

The feeling of being bloated is a very common symptom of PMS. The group of hormones that regulate the body's fluids and electrolytes (e.g., sodium and potassium) are called mineralocorticoids. Changing levels of these hormones are thought to contribute to the bloated feeling with which most women with PMS are only too well acquainted.

Other symptoms associated with PMS including breast tenderness, cramps, nausea, depression and lowered pain threshold are also related to variations in levels of neurochemicals and temporary hormonal imbalance or variation.

The role of nutrition in alleviating the debilitating symptoms of PMS is something each woman must experiment with herself. Many women alleviate symptoms by adjusting their diet. Eliminating certain foods or drinks often reduces symptoms to more tolerable levels. Experiment yourself, by cutting down or eliminating any foods you feel could be contributing to your symptoms of PMS. Listen to your body. Intuitively you will know to skip chocolate, for instance, or stop smoking at this time of the month. Dietary changes will vary from woman to woman. If it works for you, stick with it.

A positive attitude and taking care of yourself in regard to having sufficient sleep, regular exercise and relaxation will alleviate the severity of symptoms of PMS and make it manageable. You will find a comprehensive explanation of PMS, its symptoms and how to cope with them at http://www.womenshealth-pms.com.

Author's Bio: 

***Marie C. Barrett, holistic life coach, writes extensively on women’s issues. For comprehensive information on reducing the symptoms of PMS go to http://www.womenshealth-pms.com