At present, there is no medical or laboratory test that definitely reveals the presence of PMS. It is essential to keep a daily calendar to record the symptoms you experience. If you find that symptoms recur about 7 to 14 days before your period and you have a symptom-free phase after menstruation, then you are probably experiencing PMS. Seek medical help for further evaluation and treatment if these symptoms are severe or debilitating.
More Women Now Suffer from PMS Today
It does indeed appear that there are a lot more PMS cases today than when I first began my medical practice over 45 years ago. Or did we just not talk about it as a disorder then? Was there actually less PMS, or did we just call it other things? We certainly didn't call it premenstrual syndrome, because that name wasn't around then. We didn't relate the symptoms to the monthly period; we just saw mood changes that came with the "curse." A lot of women were made to believe they just couldn't cope with all of the pressures of running a household. Naive, weren't we?
But, yes, I do think there is a lot more PMS today. Even though we didn't know how to diagnose it in my early days as a physician, I think there has been a steady increase in the disease since we started calling it PMS a couple of decades ago. Possibly, the numbers are increasing just because the problem is more openly discussed. This surely has something to do with it, but it is not the only reason for the rise in cases. I think there are several factors making the symptoms of PMS more intense and widespread, most of which are due to lifestyle changes among women today.
Modern women are having fewer pregnancies and they are beginning to undergo those pregnancies at a much later age. They are exposed to more stress as they take on responsible and competitive positions in the workplace. In addition, the contraceptive pill has synthetically altered the normal hormonal cycling in the female body. Even diet may be contributing to the problem, as women join the fast-food, high-saturated-fat, eat-on-the-run world of business. Add to this the fact that more women are smoking today, and you have a formula for a health disaster.
From the forthcoming book "PMS- Premenstrual Syndrome & Menopause Management with 5-HTP" by Othniel Seiden, MD & Jane L. Bilett, PhD - Amazon & Kindle