Mrs. ABC, 35 years old, came to me complaining of extreme swings in her mood, introspection and suicidal thoughts. What perturbed her was that these symptoms were recurrent and appeared seven to ten days before her menses and she would be normal two to three weeks after her periods.
Mrs. XYZ consulted me with a fear that she had a cancer of the breasts- she had pain and swelling in the breasts about a week before the menses.
Ms. PQRS, a young girl of eighteen, feels so miserable due to her pimples that she refuses to go to college a few days prior to her menses.
What is common to all these three patients is a syndrome that is present before the menses, called the Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Pre-Menstrual Tension. One can label a person as suffering from PMS if a group of symptoms recurs in the same fashion and is relieved with the appearance of the menses. Its onset varies from just a few hours before menses to six to ten days before the periods.
What is the cause?
This is apparently caused by water retention in the body. The other factor that is thought to be responsible for this condition is extreme sensitiveness to the fluctuations in the hormonal levels which are in turn sensitive to psychological conditions like anxiety, emotional instability, and domestic stress to name a few.
What are the symptoms?
The patient can have physical as well as psychological symptoms.
The physical symptoms can be varied:
- Migraine headaches
- Sinusitis and upper respiratory tract infections
- Painful swelling of the breasts
- Abdominal distension
- Pelvic discomfort
- Frequent urination
- Gain in weight
The psychological symptoms are manifested as:
- Lassitude, malaise and tiredness
- Extreme moodiness and touchiness
- Emotional outbursts
- Sleep disturbances
- Suicidal and homicidal tendencies
How can it be controlled?
Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a proper diet will help control the symptoms.
What are the changes required in the diet?
- Low in salt and sugar, esp. before the menses
- High in fiber content
- Intake of Soya bean preparations
- Restriction of caffeine- coffee, tea, cola drinks, etc.
- Calcium supplements to reduce the cramps during the menses
- Vitamins E and the B complex
How can homeopathy help?
Constitutional treatment by a good and qualified homeopath will surely help in PMS. This will require a detailed history, followed by the prescription of a remedy that would be based not only on the patient’s physical symptoms but also on her life situation and mental state.
Below are some of the homeopathic remedies useful in PMS:
Calcarea carbonica is a pale, fat, flabby person who cannot tolerate the cold. She sweats easily from the slightest exertion. Her symptoms may be the result of emotions, worries, and vexations. She is mentally tired and full of anxiety. She is worried that others would observe her mental weakness and that people look at her with suspicion. She is also full of fears that something sad or terrible would happen. She craves eggs and sweets. Her menses are early, profuse and long lasting (an internal examination may reveal fibroids or polyps of the uterus). She has pains in the breast, leucorrhoea, chilliness and headache before the menses. There is a sensation of a weight on the top of the head, with nausea and cold hands and feet.
Graphites is useful in persons who are morbidly fat with a tendency towards constipation and delayed menses. She is in extreme mental depression, which is made worse by listening to music. She is indecisive and her moods change constantly. She recalls the events of her youth, but recent events are forgotten. She has a great aversion to sweets in her diet. Her menses are late or irregular, pale and scanty. Sometimes she has leucorrhoea instead of menses. Her premenstrual symptoms are varied- colds and cough, hoarseness of the voice, headaches, nausea, itching of the vulva, weight gain and edema of the feet, and leucorrhoea.
Kali carbonicum is a whimsical and irritable person. She appears to be quarrelsome- quarrels with her family and with people at work. She is extremely anxious and fearful. She cannot remain alone. This person is sensitive to every atmospheric change and cannot tolerate cold weather. Weakness, sweating and backache best describe her physical troubles. She has profuse menses and there is often a continuous flow of blood till the next cycle. Before the periods she feels very sad and is very hot and uncomfortable.
Pulsatilla is a mild, gentle and yielding person. She is extremely touchy and weeps easily. She likes fuss and caresses and is relieved by sympathy and consolation. All her symptoms have appeared since she first started menstruating. She is thirst less, though her lips and mouth are dry. She dislikes and cannot tolerate food that is rich and full of fats. Her menses are irregular and lend to be delayed. The flow is thick, scanty, dark, clotted, intermittent and changeable. She will complain of pain in the breast before, and diarrhea during and after the menses.
Lac caninum is very forgetful. She makes mistakes in writing. She is sad and believes her disease is incurable. The menses are too early and are profuse and in gushes. The breasts swell up before the menses and are very painful. They cannot tolerate the slightest jar and she must support them with her hands while walking. She also has a headache before menstruation with a blurred vision, nausea and vomiting at the height of the attack. Sore throat and cough often accompany menstruation. The pains are erratic and symptoms have a tendency to alternate sides.
Conium is a remedy for spinsters, widows and old maids. There is a history of repressed sexual desire or overindulgence. She is depressed, timid and has an aversion to meeting people. Every excitement causes mental depression. She takes no interest in anything, be it business or study. Her menses are delayed and scanty, and the parts are sensitive. The breasts enlarge and become painful before and during the menses. There are stitching pains in the nipples and she wants to press the breast hard with her hand.