The Four Categories of PMS

What is PMS and why is it different for every woman?

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Q: What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

A: Premenstrual (pree-MEN-struhl) syn-drome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms generally occur 1 to 2 weeks before your period (menstruation or monthly bleeding) starts and can intensify on the days just before your period. The symptoms usually go away after you start bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman. For some people, PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it may be so severe that it makes it hard to even get through the day. PMS goes away when your monthly periods stop, such as when you get pregnant or go through menopause.

Q:  Are there different types of PMS?

A:  Yes. Guy Abraham, M.D., a former professor of obstetrics, gynecology and endocrinology at UCLA has been credited for pioneering the 4 main categories of PMS which are:

PMS – A (anxiety) Characterized by mood swings, irritability and crying jags provoked by the hormonal imbalance of higher estrogen than progesterone levels.

PMS – C (cravings) Many symptoms of hypo-glycemia (low blood sugar) including headaches, fatigue, fainting spells and heart palpitations.  Increased cravings for sugars, chocolate and simple carbohydrates.  Believed to be a coping mechanism of self-medication with food to increase the serotonin levels in the brain.

PMS – D (depression) Insomnia, lethargy, confusion and other cognitive and somatic symptoms.  This type of PMS is believed to be caused by the woman’s sensitivity to the changing neurotransmitters in the brain as a result of changing estrogen and progesterone.

PMS – H (hyperhydration) Associated with weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness and swelling of face, hands and/or feet.  This type is believed to be a result of excessive Aldosterone, a hormone which regulates the salt and water balance in the body.

For your entertainment, here’s a parody of a 1950′s spot on PMS.