Pre menstrual syndrome (PMS)
Pre menstrual syndrome is very common and affects 1 in 3 women to varying degrees. Symptoms include tender, swollen breasts, headaches, stomach cramps, feeling irritable, stomach bloating, backache, feelings of aggression, acne outbreaks, fluid retention, weight gain, mood swings and depression, clumsiness, tiredness, tearfulness and food cravings.
If you are not sure whether it is PMS, the best thing to do is to keep a diary for a 3 month period.
If your symptoms happen on or around the same day of your menstrual cycle, PMS is the likely cause. If your symptoms are affecting you, then speak to your GP.
There are certain things you can do to relieve your symptoms:
- Regular exercise, e.g. a brisk walk for 20 minutes, at least five days a week
- Take some time out for you
- Take painkillers to relieve the symptoms of headaches and stomach cramps
- Take water tablets to reduce bloating
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink
- Avoid drinking alcohol when your symptoms occur
- Try to drink plenty of water to prevent bloating
- Eat a healthy balanced diet, including plenty of fruit and leafy green vegetables and a low fat, low salt diet
- Try to eat every 3 hours or so to keep your energy levels up
- A hot water bottle can help to relieve stomach cramps
- Vitamins & Mineral supplements containing vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium and evening primrose oil can also be of help.
Thrush is a common fungal infection that causes irritation, swelling and redness of the vagina and vulva. It is most commonly caused by a type of fungus naturally living in the vagina, and is usually harmless.
Thrush can be treated by using an antifungal treatment. There are different types of treatment available; a tablet, cream and vaginal pessaries (a tablet which is inserted into the vagina). All are effective treatments in most cases. If you need any further information, please ask your Pharmacist.
Cystitis is a common health condition in women and up to 40% of women will suffer with it at some stage in their lives. Common symptoms of cystitis are a burning sensation or pain on passing urine, frequent urination, cloudy or strong smelling urine. It is an infection of the bladder and may be caused by bacteria or one of the following:
- Bruising from increased sexual activity
- Using harsh soaps and toiletries
- Irritation caused by certain food and drinks
- Side effect of some prescribed medications
- Not emptying the bladder fully or not passing urine when the need arises
Cystitis can be treated by drinking plenty of water to flush the infection through. Drinking cranberry juice, reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake and avoiding acidic fruit juices, can also help. If your symptoms continue or you have blood in your urine, you should make an appointment to see your GP.
If you need more information about Women's Health then please go to our Pharmacy Locator page, find your local Alphega Pharmacy and ask for further advice.
Women's Health Advice: Period Pain
Services: Emergency Contraception Service
More info: Cystitis and Thrush infographic