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Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a condition faced by many a woman for a few days leading to the menstrual period. This syndrome is faced by millions of women worldwide and is characterized by different symptoms. While some women face the symptoms in relatively lesser degree, others find it debilitating. Nearly 3 of every 4 women would have faced some form of PMS at some point in time. Often PMS symptoms are noticed in women who are perimenopausal. The symptoms taper off once menopause sets in. PMS may be hereditary as it runs in families. The female hormone estrogen plays a significant role in water retention and blood sugar levels.

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are physical and psychological. These symptoms of PMS range from feelings of depression and uncontrollable crying to irritability and reduced libido. Women suffer from headache, migraine, food cravings, fluid retention and abdominal bloating. PMS affects the quality of life of millions of women to an extent that they suffer panic attacks and paranoia. Breast tenderness, muscle pain, fatigue, mood swings and difficulty in concentration are other common symptoms of women suffering from pre menstrual syndrome. Many PMS sufferers also experience hypoglycemia.

In severe cases of premenstrual syndrome, diuretics, antidepressants or birth control pills are prescribed. Lifestyle changes are instrumental in managing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

  • Avoiding excess salt, sugar, caffeine and alcohol, especially prior to the menstrual period
  • Supplements of multivitamins and minerals including folic acid and calcium
  • Relaxation techniques such as yoga
  • Seek social support
  • Regular exercise such as aerobics, jogging or swimming


A headache in many cases can be a symptom of other underlying issues. In most cases, a headache subsides with the intake of an OTC painkiller or given adequate rest. To pinpoint the exact cause for a recurring, persistent headache, it calls for a detailed history of the patient as a starting point.

A headache is often one of the common symptoms associated with a wide range of ailments, drug interaction or change in weather to hormonal variations. The following list is not exhaustive - but only to suggest as a sample of some possible causes.

Allergic rhinitis - can cause fatigue and headache. Some drugs like alpha blockers cause side effects like drowsiness, tiredness, headache, nervousness, irritability, stuffy or runny nose, nausea, pain in the extremities. Metronidazole drug can also result in headache, nausea and vomiting if taken with alcohol.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) or Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) has symptoms which include abdominal pain, headache, nervousness and irritability along with breast tenderness before menstruation. Antihistamines cause drowsiness and headache as a side effect.
Heat stroke can cause severe head ache, high fever and dry skin.

A cancer in the adrenal medulla known as Pheochromocytoma can cause high blood pressure, headache, palpitations and excessive perspiration.
Cerebral Aneurysms may cause headaches lasting for days or weeks - called as Sentinel Headaches as they are a warning to an impending rupture or Spontaneous Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SSH).

Migraine Headache refers to the recurrent headache on one side or both sides - often accompanied by nausea or vomiting with episodes of aversion to light.

Cluster Headache is the excruciating pain centered around one eye or temple.

Tension Headache - the common form of headache refers to the dull ache that may appear to exert pressure on the head.

Comparison of Tension Type Headache and Migraine Headache

  Tension Headache Migraine Headache
Interval Time for Onset to peak Hours to days Minutes to 1 hour
Frequency Often daily or continuous Rarely less than 1 per week
Location circumferential Temporal
Character Aching, pressure band like Pounding
Laterality Usually bilateral Always unilateral
Aura Never present May be present
Nausea and vomiting Rare Common
Duration Often days Usually less than 24 hr

Tags: #Premenstrual Syndrome #Headache
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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: October 25, 2020