The hormones that control the menstrual bleeding, affect far more than the uterus and ovaries. Many women feel the changes in their bodies by water retention, mood swings, or migraines. As the complaints are to relieve Find out here.

The exact causes are not known

Woman sick bathrobe

Photo: © iStockphoto.com/ lite_2046

The menstrual cycle is an important clock for the woman for a long life span. The cycle is determined by a steady onset and offset of female hormones - with the ultimate goal to provide an egg for fertilization and to prepare the uterus for possible implantation of an embryo. But the female hormones affect not only ovarian and endometrial. They work in many other tissues and the central nervous system. Thus they influence the behavior and the mental state of the woman.

Many women feel the days before menstruation and the period complaints even as distressing and have physical and mental ailments. Today, these complaints are grouped under the term "premenstrual syndrome" (PMS). "The exact causes of PMS are not known. Probably it is a complex interplay in which the tax assessment and the current psychosocial situation of women play a role, "explains Professor Alexander Teichmann of the German Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief physician at the Women's Clinic at the Klinikum Aschaffenburg. but a "complicity" in the mood swings probably the falling estrogen levels in the second half of the cycle. This is namely the mentally stimulating effect of this hormone acting activating back and the body makes as it were, by an "estrogen deprivation".

From the mood disorder to disease

The most common mental disorders of PMS are anxiety and tension, nervousness and irritability, as well as upsets and performance degradation. The physical symptoms are fluid retention in the foreground, which may manifest itself in edema and an increase in breast volume. There are also headaches, dizziness, nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort, skin changes and cross and back pain. As long as the everyday and the requirements can not be reasonably overcome in a job, the PMS but has no real sickness character. Previously, doctors have therefore often not taken seriously the PMS. Meanwhile, the clinical research of the problem has adopted and is now investigating exactly the impairment of quality of life and the burden of disease. The result: The PMS is a world to be more accurate symptom complex, under which many women suffer. for women the PMS means above all a psychological burden and should be treated with appropriate psychological strain.

Now checklists be developed, with which the woman doctors can query the symptoms systematically. A particularly severe form of premenstrual syndrome is to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This "enhanced" Premenstrual syndrome is officially recognized as a disease. "There are psychological symptoms such as irritability, anxiety and depression in the foreground of the complaints," says Alexander Teichmann. "Patients feel so severely affected that they hardly participate in social life or can pursue their profession. The suffering is considerable. "An estimated five percent of all women of reproductive age are affected by PMDD.

Signs Menstruation: What can I do?

If the PMS disorders not very strong, a lot can be done even with targeted lifestyle changes already. Since the complaints from woman to woman are different, there is no "silver bullet". First of all, the following applies: Each person should try to deal positively with the symptoms. go fresh air, walking or jogging, massage, relaxation exercises or yoga and tai chi can be enough then, the days before the days to master. A decrease in PMS symptoms through physical activity has been documented in many scientific studies. And good news for those who appreciate a drop of wine: Alcohol in moderation does not affect the PMS, the result of a recent study involving some 3,000 participants.

balance the hormones with chaste tree

Also herbs are used to good effect during PMS. Helping St. John's wort against the depressed mood. Lemon balm leaves, valerian root, hops and passion flower can dampen the irritability and promote falling and staying asleep. Another woman remedy which acts upon the hormonal imbalances, the chaste tree, latin Vitex agnus castus. The seeds of the plant native to the Mediterranean are used in the experience of medicine has long been in menstrual and menopausal symptoms. The effectiveness of the chaste tree especially when premenstrual syndrome has been demonstrated in clinical trials.

Sometimes help Vitamins & Co

vitamins, minerals and trace elements are recommended for PMS as food supplements. A proof of concept in the sense of the evidence-based medicine is however only available for some of these supplements. This applies to calcium in daily doses from 1,000 to 1,200 mg. In a large placebo-controlled study in which women were followed for three menstrual cycles, all PMS symptoms were virtually back through the intake of calcium. For magnesium, which is also often recommended for PMS, however, are no convincing studies with efficacy in PMS symptoms. In the group of vitamins, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has been well studied in the PMS. The vitamin reduces the studies as depressive symptoms better than a placebo. The doses were in the studies usually between 50 and 100 mg of vitamin B6 per day.

What can the doctor do?

"If the symptoms are pronounced, the gynecologist should be asked. it when you write down precisely in advance about one to three cycles, the individual complaints and then tells the doctor is best. The physician can then better determine which drugs for each woman in question come, "says Alexander Teichmann. Well tested in the physical PMS symptoms are mainly hormonal treatments, usually an estrogen-progestin combination as in the "pill". Are more emotional problems in the foreground, the doctor may prescribe antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These drugs increase the concentration of the "happiness hormone" serotonin in the brain, which can be lowered during PMS. In severe edema water withdrawing funds are used.

"In particularly serious cases, the hormonal ovarian activity can be completely suppressed by medication, both diagnostically and therapeutically. The precipitated hormones are replaced continuously and not cyclically, so that the substantial cyclical influences that a PMS is based, are turned off. It is recommended that the use of natural steroids estradiol and progesterone, "says Teichmann.

Acupuncture - a new treatment option for severe PMS?

Many women with severe PMS, Premenstrual Dysphoric the disorder, but also help hormones or antidepressants only moderately. Here Japanese doctors have had good experiences with acupuncture. While there is still no established treatment regimen with this (almost) free of side effects of treatment. But the regular, initially every two to three weeks performed needling of a total of 25 acupuncture points shows good results. It is possible that acupuncture normalizes serotonin balance in the brain that Japanese scientists say.

Source: German Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics