Modern medicine has relegated PMS a medical mystery, for which a cause, and a cure, is yet to be found. In Ayurveda PMS is recognised as a general imbalance of the body, caused by any of the dosha. There are a number of 'cures' but they take great effort on our part, unlike taking panadol, and they depend on which dosha is involved.
Vata: pain, cramps, insomnia, cold, thirst, blood is brown and scanty, period does not last long.
Pitta: hot flushes, pimples, rash, muscle ache, diarrhea, blood is excessive
Kapha: laziness, heaviness, bloating, swollen breasts, lack of appetite, blood is pale, clotted and mucousy.
Dr David Frawley discusses the psychology of PMS related to each dosha, which can be very useful. He says Vata may feel anxiety, depression or abandonment, or "feel like she is dying or have suicidal feelings." Pitta on the other hand will feel angry with "possible violent outbursts." Kapha's emotional changes will not be so severe, but she may want to cry, feeling very sentimental and "needing to be loved."
It may take a long time to correct PMS, and treating the right dosha is vital. Keep a record of your cycle for a few months, noting which symptoms occur on which days and even at what time. If it's not obvious which dosha is involved take this record to an Ayurvedic doctor.
In any case, here's a few suggestions of what may be causing PMS:
innappropriate excercise (too much or too little)
poor nutrition for your dosha
lack of routine
over stimulation (sex, travel, coffee, alchohol)
Those tampon ads where a woman is riding down the beach, bare back on a horse certainly don't encourage us to acknowledge and respect this most sacred of times for a woman. We are told these days we can do everything. Have a successful career, earn lots of money, cook healthy food for our families, take the kids to soccor training, go shopping, be a satisfying lover, go to the gym twice a week, maintain our blog daily, have coffee with our girlfriends, take a headache pill and do it all over again...and as wonderful as this would be, our bodies are just saying 'no!'
Traditionally, in many ancient cultures, women were relieved of all duties during their periods. Having our periods is a very cleansing and internal time. Take time for yourself, rest, meditate, eat well and ask for help with the chores.
During the rest of the month don't think you can get away with more just cause you don't actually have your period. Life is a constant struggle for balance, and we must work with our bodies at all times, not just when the symptoms rear their ugly heads.