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Published August 09, 2012, 11:30 PM

Five Things Friday: 5 things you should know about premenstrual syndrome

FARGO – At least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom along with their monthly cycle, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

FARGO – At least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom along with their monthly cycle, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates.

Although most women’s symptoms are mild and don’t need treatment, the ACOG says about 3 to 8 percent have a more severe form of PMS called PMDD.

“I think everyone has it to some degree,” says Dr. Stephen Linn, ob-gyn with Essentia Health in Fargo.

Here are five things you should know about PMS:

1) According to womenshealth.gov, it’s more common in women who:

  • are between their late 20s and early 40s

  • have at least one child

  • have a family history of depression

  • have a past medical history of postpartum depression or a mood disorder.

    2) It’s both a gynecologic and psychiatric diagnosis.

    “The symptoms are divided between physical and emotional,” Linn says. “For most people, the emotional symptoms are more debilitating.”

    3) The cause remains unknown.

    Linn says researchers have done multiple studies on hormones, chemicals, minerals and proteins in women with bad PMS and women with no PMS.

    “There’s no difference between the two,” he says.

    4) Like with anything else, lifestyle modification helps.

    Linn suggests cutting out fat, sugar and caffeine, getting regular exercise and adequate sleep, and minimizing stress.

    5) Antidepressants are effective for some women.

    Linn received a visit from a man whose wife started taking an antidepressant for PMS three months earlier.

    “Before I said anything, he stands up and he says, ‘Dr. Linn, I wanted to meet you and shake your hand. You made my wife what she was when I married her,’ ” he says.

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