Here's Everything You Need To Know About PMS
Do you suddenly begin to experience mood swings at certain times of the month? Do you feel irritated, anxious and sad?
In those certain times of the month, if your body begins to go through certain changes that adversely affect the quality of your life, then it's time for you to know more about PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome and understand why you are feeling this way.
What is PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
About 75% of all menstruating women experience these symptoms.
Usually, these symptoms are experienced after ovulation or before the start of the menstrual period.
What causes PMS?
Most of the studies done on PMS suggest that change in hormonal levels during the monthly cycle contribute towards the physical and emotional symptoms experienced during PMS.
Symptoms of PMS begin to appear when there is a sudden imbalance in estrogen and progesterone ratios.
It is observed that an increase in the level of progesterone causes depression and increase in the level of estrogen lead to tension and anxiety.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Common symptoms of PMS are listed below -
- Tender breasts
- Irregular bowel movement
- Flatulence (gassy feeling)
- A headache
- A backache
- Swollen breasts
Emotional or mental symptoms -
- Sleep-related issues
- Food cravings
- Food Aversions
- Tension or anxiety
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
- Disinterest in sex
Symptoms of PMS and their severity may vary from woman to woman.
Keep a track of your symptoms for a few months and share them with your healthcare provider if the symptoms affect your daily life adversely.
Do I have PMS?
There is a possibility that you may have PMS If -
- The related PMS symptoms occur five to ten days before your period.
- These symptoms occur for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
- They usually end within four days after your period starts.
It is important that you meet your healthcare provider if you think that these symptoms are affecting your daily activities.
Your doctor will best determine whether you have a premenstrual syndrome or not.
What should I do?
You can do the following things which can help you understand your situation better.
Keep track of which PMS symptoms you have and notice the symptoms which you regularly experience for a few months.
Notice how severe they are. Document the ones that trouble you the most and keep you from enjoying or doing some of your normal activities.
Make it a point to write down your symptoms along with the date from when they started to when they ended and share this information with your doctor.
How is PMS diagnosed?
There are no specific tests designed to determine whether or not you are experiencing PMS.
Your doctor will talk with you about your symptoms. He /she will question you regarding when they happen, their severity and how much they affect your life.
Be open to your doctor and ask questions. Try to explain your discomfort and problems so that your doctor can help you deal with them.
Dealing with PMS can be tricky but it's not an impossible thing to do.
There are many things that you can do in order to minimise the discomfort and other effects of PMS on your body.
Here are some things that you should do to see a difference -
Exercising is something that will surely lessen your pain and misery.
Exercising boosts the body’s natural painkillers (endorphins) and reduces the amount of free circulating estrogen.
For some people, It might not seem like a very fun activity to do especially when they are experiencing mood swings and other discomforting changes. But it's highly recommended that you give it a try because it's a great natural stress reliever and mood enhancer.
Go for a long walk or choose a light aerobic exercise that you can indulge in for 20-30 mins daily.
- Avoid stress
Stress levels shoot up when you experience PMS, as the serotonin levels drop down so it's important that you indulge yourself in activities that are healthy for you and make you happy.
Read a good book, sing a song or watch your favourite movie. Meditate or indulge in stress-busting activities daily.
Go out with a friend or spend some time with your loved ones. See what makes you happy and try to be in an environment that doesn't subject you to any kind of stress.
It's important that you get a proper night's sleep. Lack of sleep can make you cranky and tired. It can also contribute to an increase in mood swings.
Sleeping properly will also help reduce pain and will help you deal with the temporary mood swings and stress.
A good night's sleep will also help you remain active throughout the day.
- Relax your mind and muscles
If you are experiencing backache or a headache, try a relaxing massage to improve blood supply to the area.
Prepare a moist and warm kitchen towel and keep it on your abdomen if you are suffering from cramps. Make sure you are careful and you don't burn yourself.
You can also try to relieve muscle pain using a cold compress by wrapping some ice in a towel and keeping it in the affected area.
Make Important Dietary changes.
PMS definitely makes your life harder but making the following dietary changes is a must to make a difference -
- Eat less salt, especially before your period to reduce bloating.
- Avoid packed, processed and canned food as they are high in Sodium.
- Eat lots of fibre. Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet. This will help maintain your estrogen levels normally and also improve digestion.
- Drink ample amount of water. Go for at least 8 to 10; 250 ml glasses a day. This way, your frequency of urination will increase which will cause the removal of excess salt. This, in turn, will help you avoid water retention and bloating.
- Cut back on sugar-laden snacks. You would want to treat yourself to a large piece of cake or your favourite cookie but it will only spike your blood sugar level for a small amount of time. When the sugar level goes back to normal, you will experience irritation and mood swings.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements. Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin E and B6 supplements can help you deal with the muscle cramps and mood swings in a better manner. Visit your healthcare provider to consult, and take the recommended dosage of the same.
- Avoid alcohol consumption. Alcohol will actually worsen your situation by causing digestive and hormonal issues in your body. Alcohol also elevates the level of estrogen in the body.
- Reduce fat intake. Eating a diet which is high in fats can adversely affect the functioning of your liver and cause digestive problems.
- Have frequent and small meals so that your blood sugar level is maintained normally.
- Drink some herbal tea. Try cinnamon or chamomile tea to soothe your senses and relax.
Try these super foods
PMS is no joke. To deal with something like PMS you need proper nutrition. To ensure that you are receiving proper nutrition in this crucial ad hard time of the month include these foods in your diet
- Olive oil
- Date palm
- Black pepper
- Sesame seeds.
While oatmeal helps in the metabolism of sugar in a slow and gradual pace avocados, date palms, papayas, eggplants and pineapples act as essential sources of serotonin in the body.
Banana, figs, broccoli and tomatoes are rich in potassium, helping the body fight inflammation bloating and water retention.
Fish, olive oil, spinach and sesame seeds are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Turkey contains tryptophan and Chicken is a good source of vitamin B6 and protein. Black pepper can help you deal with abdominal cramps.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD causes physical and emotional symptoms similar to PMS but they are greater in severity.
The symptoms of PMDD usually show up the week before the start of the period and lasts for a few days after it begins.
PMDD shows a relation with low levels of serotonin, a hormone that helps transmit nerve signals and is used by some parts of the brain to control sleep, mood, attention and life.
PMDD can interfere with your personal life and social life in a greater magnitude than PMS. If you are experiencing severe symptoms of PMS, seek medical attention immediately.
It is highly recommended that you seek medical attention and consultation right away if PMS symptoms are taking a toll on your physical health, mental health, and everyday life.
PMS can indeed become an inconvenience for some women.Understanding PMS can definitely help you deal with it in a better manner.
Follow these remedies and seek medical attention to determine whether you have PMS or not. Your healthcare provider will help you deal with the symptoms both physically and mentally.
Lastly, if you have more such queries around Menstrual Health then you can explore the Health Tips Community on SHEROES!