Common complaints have been developed and categorized by Dr. Guy Abraham a former professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UCLA who has done extensive research on the subject. Note- women can have more than one type of PMS:
Anxiety- the most common type, affects between 65-75% of women with PMS. Includes; nervous tension, irritability, and mood swings. Type A is believed to be caused by high estrogen levels, vitamin B complex deficiency with calcium, magnesium, zinc, and possible chromium deficiencies.
Carbohydrate Cravings- affects 25-35% of women with PMS. A voracious appetite for sweets and refined carbohydrates is believed to be the result of the body's sensitivity to insulin during the luteal phase which can cause hypoglycemia. Higher dietary intakes of saturated fat and animal protein can also cause increased cravings of carbohydrates during the luteal phase in some women, the result of the body trying to clear the system of neutral amino acids in order to raise serum levels of L-Tryptophan, the precursor to serotonin.
Depression- affecting between 24-35% and is often found in combination with type A. Type A may appear first during the luteal phase followed closely by type D. Symptoms include crying spells, confusion, memory loss and insomnia. Women with this type seem to have higher levels of progesterone and lower levels of estrogen.
Water imbalance and hyperhydration- can affect 50-75% women. Type H is believed to be linked to excessive production of aldosterone, causing sodium and water retention. Weight gain is therefore a symptom with swelling and breast tenderness along with abdominal bloating. Sodium sensitive women will need to pay attention to sodium intake as well as excess protein intake. Getting enough calcium, and magnesium will help.
In addition to the above, one more common group of symptoms that is associated with PMS but not actually part of Dr. Abraham's category is dysmenorrhea, I'll call it Type P for Pain.
- Pain - associated with menses can occur right at ovulation as the egg is released from the ovary and also appear a few days prior the menses. Type P includes low back pain, joint pain, nausea and vomiting and uterine cramps. Eating the right fats and avoiding the wrong fats will help in alleviating the inflammation response in you system.
Food intolerances or delayed food allergies (non IgE responses) can also cause these kinds of symptoms.
Undiagnosed autoimmune conditions should also be considered. Gluten sensitivity is more common than once thought and can cause GI inflammation resulting in malabsorption and nutrient deficiencies.