Results from a new national survey conducted by iVillage and the National Association for Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health (NPWH) show that symptoms associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle such as irritability, moodiness and anxiousness can have an alarmingly negative impact on her relationships with the people she cares about most — her partner, family members and friends.

In fact, 68 percent of men and 78 percent of women surveyed said that when a loved one is suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), they notice negative effects on their relationship with that woman such as more fighting, increased tension, and less time spent together. In addition, almost a third of the men reported a negative impact on their sex lives.

“PMS is one of the top health condition searches on, showing its prevalence in women’s lives,” says Nancy Evans, co-founder and editor-in-chief of iVillage. “Our survey shows that the important people in a woman’s life are suffering along with her.”

Premenstrual syndrome is a clinical condition manifested by a wide range of recurrent symptoms that a woman experiences during the seven to 10 days before her period begins. To qualify as PMS, symptoms should increase in severity as the menstrual cycle progresses, be relieved when menstrual flow begins or shortly after, and be present for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. There are more than 100 physical, behavioral and emotional symptoms associated with PMS.

Physical symptoms include bloating, weight gain, headaches, backache and fatigue Behavioral symptoms include increased appetite, change in sexual interest, poor concentration and clumsiness. Emotional symptoms include moodiness, irritability, tension, anxiousness and hostility.

According to the NPWH/iVillage survey, women are significantly more aware of their loved one’s often-severe PMS symptoms than men. An astounding 97 percent of women said that they have observed the sufferer exhibiting one or more of the emotional and physical symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle (versus 52 percent of men).

The survey also found that almost all women (98 percent) and most men (79 percent) are aware of at least one treatment for PMS, yet only 35 percent of women and 16 percent of men said the sufferer currently uses medicine on a regular basis to help alleviate PMS.

“Many women feel that because PMS usually occurs a few days a month that they should just put up with it. However, these few days a month, over time, add up to a significant portion of a woman’s childbearing years,” notes Susan Wysocki, NP, RNC, president and CEO of the NPWH. “There are some treatment options such as over-the-counter medications, vitamin therapies, dietary changes, and a new oral contraceptive called Yasmin, which is also currently being studied as a potential treatment for a severe form of PMS/PMDD. Women should talk to their health care professional about how to lessen the impact of PMS.”

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Courtesy of ARA Content