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Pre–Menstrual Syndrome is the collective term for a variety of symptoms that women may experience about one or two weeks prior to a menstrual period. It is estimated that up to 20 percent of pre–menopausal women are affected by PMS. Symptoms that may characterize PMS include. Pre–Menstrual Syndrome seems to be related to hormonal fluctuations that are linked to the menstrual cycle, some women may be more sensitive than others to these changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. The syndrome may also have the following specific causes. Serotonin imbalances resulting from the effects of fluctuating hormone levels on the brain’s neurotransmitters may be a cause of Pre–Menstrual Syndrome. Serotonin imbalances are linked to depression, appetite changes and sleep disturbances, and women with Pre–Menstrual Syndrome do seem to have low levels of serotonin about ten days before a menstrual period.

Low endorphin levels may also cause some of the symptoms of Pre–Menstrual Syndrome. Endorphins are natural pain–relieving chemicals that the body produces, their levels may be adversely affected by hormonal changes. Exercise is recommended to alleviate the symptoms of PMS because it increases endorphins. It was originally thought that stress caused PMS, but studies have shown that it is the other way around. Pre–Menstrual Syndrome causes stress. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce Pre–Menstrual Syndrome symptoms, and most of them are readily available to women. The first is diet. Here are seven simple diet tips for women with PMS.

Cut back on caffeine and alcohol to reduce irritability, fatigue, depression and headaches
Curtail your intake of salt. It may worsen fluid retention.
Eat plenty of calcium–rich foods to reduce bloating and moodiness.
Load up on complex carbohydrates to increase serotonins. Bread is a good choice.
The herbs black cohosh and dong quoi may ease Pre–Menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
Increase your intake of soy. It contains a natural plant estrogen which appears to reduce hormonal difficulties.