Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also known as premenstrual tension (PMT) and the Menopause are typically thought of as separate conditions because their causes, though both related a woman’s reproductive system, are different. Full-blown PMS is a disorder that warrants treatment while the menopause is not a disorder but a natural part of the cycle of life and may not need treatment at all. Nonetheless, both present strikingly similar physical and emotional symptoms and they share a number of treatments in common. It should be noted, however, some symptoms and treatments are strongly divergent. For example, bone thinning is chiefly the preserve of the menopause and hormonal suppression may be used to relieve PMS symptoms while hormonal boosts may be used to relieve menopausal ones.
A decent grasp of PMS issues, which many Western women now have, serves as a good starting point for understanding the menopause which unfortunately many women worldwide, including Western women, still don’t have. Many women arrive at their menopausal transitional years (the “perimenopause”) without knowing anything about what they might expect, or when or how the process might happen, and how long it might take. Very often a woman has not been informed in any way about this stage of life. It may often be the case that she has received no information from her physician, or from her older female family members, or from her social group. There appears to be a lingering taboo which hangs over this subject. As a result, a woman who happens to undergo a strong perimenopause with a large number of different effects, may become confused and anxious, fearing that something abnormal is happening to her. There is a strong need for more information and more education on this subject; it wouldn't’t be amiss if men too were familiarized so partners are better equipped to be supportive.
Accordingly, this chapter aims to give a clear and accurate account in 20 compact pages. The issues raised a very good demonstration of the complexity of the body and how easily a delicate symbiotic balance can be upset by lifestyle, environmental or hereditary factors. En route, i slay a few myths and qualify a number of treatments including the famous or infamous (depending on your point of view) treatment “HRT”. I explain the difference between a hot flash and an ember flash, and why the incidence of PMS is often greatly exaggerates, i reveal an exciting new botanical treatment that could resolve the many conflicts thrown up by HRT and some alternative treatments. If you’ve ever wondered whether st. John’s Wort, flax seed, Black Cohosh, progesterone, SSRI antidepressants, Bioidentical HRT, acupuncture and host of other popular ‘ cures ’ work for PMS and menopause symptoms this chapter gives you – as I always aim to – the impartial scientific findings behind the marketing hype. There are quite a few surprises in store, both good and not so good,one thing that will not come as a surprise if you’ve heeded the message elsewhere in the book is the need, as always, to adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet. Smoking, drinking, junk food, obesity and lack of exercise take a heavy toll on men, but given the way nature works, one of the great unfairness of life is that it takes an even heavier toll on a woman and her super-complex reproductive system. A woman who exacerbates her PMS symptoms through poor lifestyle habits is more or less guaranteed to experience more extreme, unpleasant or unnerving symptoms during the 10 to 12 years of menopausal transition that typically starts for Western women around their mid-forties.