PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME: HOW BAD CAN IT BE?

When a woman's body goes into premenstrual syndrome, tension can build to the point of triggering irritability, lethargy, and depression. Sometimes a depression can be so intense that a woman doesn't get out of bed because she sees no reason to live. Suicides among women are known to increase during premenstrual days. At the other extreme, premenstrual women have succumbed to violent outbursts that have caused them to batter their own children. It has been reported that in the United Kingdom, PMS can be considered a mitigating factor in a crime. And in France a woman who commits a crime while in the throes of premenstrual syndrome can plead temporary insanity. Like Helen, many women regularly feel themselves metamorphosing into monsters, becoming schizophrenic.

Even without creating a psychological side effect, however, premenstrual syndrome can drain a woman. The physical effects of PMS run the gamut: joint pains, backache, sinusitis, sore throat, glaucoma, conjunctivitis, styes, asthma, rhinitis (sniffles), acne, herpes, urticaria (skin rashes), migraine, epilepsy, syncope (fainting spells)-and this is only a partial list. Headaches alone can make a woman's whole body tremble.

Premenstrual syndrome is not a condition to be laughed at or considered weird. Millions of menstruating women are suffering pain, living with uncontrollable mood swings, and trying to cope. The syndrome invades their lives,

breaks up marriages, and undermines their ability to function in their homes or at jobs. Until menstrual blood begins to flow, which is the time when progesterone and estrogen hormones diminish, many women don't feel well. They only become themselves after their hormones have reached a crescendo, and then subsided. After that happens, they're fine until the next time the monthly malady strikes.

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Women's Health

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