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Spotlight on PMS!

By Jennifer Kohler, MS, FNP-BC, CLC

Unfortunately, PMS has become something that people tend to make light of, however, it can truly be life-altering to some. PMS stands for “premenstrual syndrome,” which is an all-encompassing term to include the various symptoms a woman may experience approximately a week before the onset of her cycle.

These symptoms can be both physical and emotional, and can affect quality of life, relationships, work, and even social engagements. It is estimated that up to 80-90% of women have experienced PMS at some point in their life. After 40+ years of research, we still do not have an exact cause, however, we can surmise that it is a complex combination of physiologic, psychologic, and environmental factors. When multiple factors affect something, it is even more important to realize that treatment is not “one size fits all.”

To try and identify the factors that affect each person, journaling and keeping a symptom diary for at least two cycles can be helpful. In fact, for those who lean towards technology…surprise, there’s numerous apps for this. You can track your cycle, symptoms, timing, and lifestyle all in one app. For those who enjoy journaling, just writing down what symptoms you notice approximately one week before your cycle and noting if they are “mild, moderate, or severe” can be helpful as well.

Reviewing your symptoms and log with a provider and then exploring your nutrition, hormone levels, activity, vitamins/supplements, and stress is needed to identify areas that can be modified to lessen symptoms. Even a small reduction in symptoms can have a big impact.

If you are experiencing PMS issues, start the evaluation process by tracking or journaling. This can be the easiest way to see trends, and identity possible causes that you can start to modify. It could be a simple diet change or adjustment in activity that could help. Sometimes we do not even realize that we are experiencing cyclic symptoms until we write them down. Learning more about your body is a good thing and can help you on your health care journey and improve your overall well-being.

If this is an area where you have been struggling, and want to be seen in consultation at IMCNY, please call visit our website, or call our office at 315-741-5774.

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