Every girl menstruates for an average of five days each month till she attains menopause, roughly at the age of 54 years. However, throughout the month, many changes keep happening in her body, both at the physical, emotional and mental levels. Women go through a lot, from the beginning of ovulation with an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels, dealing with cramps to bleeding.
While society still views menstruation as a stigma or impurity by restricting entry to religious places or forbidding touching pickles, the ordeal is often negated. One such issue is PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome, which every woman deals with. As per research, 90% of women agreed to face premenstrual symptoms before the start of the period.
This article intends to break stigmas and provide a deeper insight into the issue of PMS, which, if left unseen, can lead to grave consequences. Read till the end to get a sneak peek into the subject.
What is PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)?
Premenstrual Syndrome or Premenstrual Stress is the condition most women tend to go through closer to the date of their menstrual cycle. Ideally, the symptoms begin to show a week or two before the period.
In short, PMS is a combination of emotional and physical symptoms that occur after ovulation and before the start of the period. One of the prime causes is an imbalance in the level of estrogen and progesterone, which happens a few days after ovulation if not pregnant.
Common Symptoms of PMS
Symptoms of PMS tend to vary for every woman. While few show mild symptoms, others may show no signs. At the same time, some may have severe consequences, hindering their daily activities. Furthermore, the symptoms tend to change through different phases of life.
They are broadly divided into two categories – Physical and Emotional Symptoms.
Physical symptoms include:
- Stomach and leg cramps
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Bloating or constipation
- Clumsiness or loss of energy
- Irritability for noise or light
Mental Symptoms include:
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Depressive thoughts
- Sudden crying spells
- Feeling sad
- Mood Swings
- Change in appetite or increasing food craving
- Loss of interest in sex
- Hostile behavior
- Bolts of anxiety
Causes of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Premenstrual syndrome is the repercussion of hormonal imbalance in the body after ovulation. Researchers reason it to differences in estrogen and progesterone levels when the ovum doesn’t get fertilized by a sperm.
While the exact causes are still unknown, several factors contribute to the trigger of PMS, which include:
- Change in period cycles: The hormonal fluctuations during the cycle and effect of Progesterone Neuro-transmitters
- Depression: Women who showcase PMS were diagnosed with existing episodes of depression.
- Chemical changes in the brain system: Change in the level of serotonin that is integral to mood state is known to trigger PMS symptoms. Insufficient serotonin in the brain contributes to episodes of PMS, fatigue, food cravings and sleep issues.
What is PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is the state where women showcase PMS symptoms like breast tenderness, bloating etc, along with behavioral symptoms ranging from depression and anxiety to mood swings for a prolonged time. Furthermore, PMDD also causes women to get suicidal thoughts. Although the symptoms occur for a few weeks, they can severely interfere with daily life activities.
TOP 5 Tips for Relieving PMS Symptoms:
- Exercise regularly:
- Exercise is the best way to relieve PMS. It not only boosts your mood but also helps beat the heat of stress and keep you energized.
- Have a balanced diet:
- Consume a diet of green and leafy vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Fats such as Omega 3s and Omega 6s also help to keep PMS at bay. Not limiting the intake of saturated fats and processed foods can worsen the feeling of bloating.
- Get a good night’s sleep:
- Sleeping well is integral to balancing your mood swings due to increased serotonin levels. Doctors recommend eight hours of sleep before periods to help you concentrate more and feel less anxious.
- Relax as much as possible:
- PMS causes cramps, and relaxing is the ideal way to give your physic and psyche calmness. Try a heating pad, take warm baths and use essential oils to enhance your mood.
- Opt for supplements:
- Intake of vitamins and minerals ease PMS symptoms. Some of the vital supplements include:
- Vitamin B6 – To feel more energized
- Magnesium – Reduce headaches
- Vitamin D – Lifting your mood
- Intake of vitamins and minerals ease PMS symptoms. Some of the vital supplements include:
Is PMS a Magnesium Deficiency?
Studies highlight that a dip in the magnesium level leads to increased PMS symptoms. Magnesium is integral to synthesize dopamine in the brain. An imbalance of this chemical in the brain can lead to anxiety issues. Increasing magnesium in your diet can help ease PMS symptoms.
How is PMS treated?
The impact of PMS differs among each woman. Based on the severity, different methods are employed to treat PMS.
- Relaxing and indulging in meditation
- Drinking lots of water
- Reducing salt intake
- Getting sufficient exercise
- Cutting down smoking
- Taking vitamin supplements
- Changing diet by adding more carbs and fats to the diet
- Avoiding saturated fats and alcohol
If your symptoms do not decrease even after lifestyle changes and you find them worsening further, consult a doctor immediately to diagnose and treat the issue.
Can exercise reduce PMS symptoms?
A good workout session is indeed a mood booster. However, exercising only on days when your PMS is at its peak won’t help. A daily workout regime of 30 minutes is recommended to decrease your symptoms.
According to studies, exercises including aerobics and yoga help improve PMS symptoms such as fatigue and depression. A 60-minute aerobic session thrice a week betters its impact physically, emotionally and mentally. On the other hand, a good yoga session aids in reducing stress, reducing cramps and bloating.
Effect of exercise on premenstrual symptoms:
- Aerobics boosts heart rate, increases mood and decreases mood swings
- It secretes endorphins, mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain helping to reduce PMS pain
- Yoga asanas like cobra pose, fish pose and cat pose help decrease dysmenorrhea (cramping)
Food Alternatives When You are PMS – ing
Evidence proves how diet plays an integral role in developing and relieving PMS symptoms. However, changing your diet can provide you with much relief. Here are the top suggestions to ease the symptoms.
- PMSing women should ideally intake 200 to 500 calories a day. Instead of opting for sugar, replace it with whole grains instead.
- Cutting down on alcohol and caffeine can ease the feeling of bloating and breast tenderness.
- Drink plenty of water to reduce bloating
- Sodium is the most likely reason for bloating and water retention. Reduce dependence on overly processed foods to ease discomfort from bloating.
- A fiber-rich diet comprising fruits and veggies, whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, etc., will lower the risk of PMS.
- Consume cereals, fortified bread, and food rich in vitamin B and B2.
When to see a doctor for Premenstrual Syndrome?
Is your PMS obstructing your daily activities? Is it impacting your energy and mood? While PMS symptoms may push you out of your mundane activities, it is imperative to observe when the signs go out of hand, turning abnormal.
While mood swings, headaches, bloating and cramps are the commonest signs during a period, you may also experience highly uncommon symptoms which require timely medical interference.
If you are facing the below 8 signs, then it is time to book an appointment with a doctor to relieve you of its severity.
- Are you facing intense mood swings which make you hyper?
- Are you feeling suicidal and feeling an elevated risk of suicidal attempts?
- Do you feel isolated from everyone?
- Is your monthly cycle extremely short-spanned?
- Are you experiencing heavy bleeding?
- Are you facing prolonged episodes of fatigue and depression
- Is your menstrual blood gray?
- Are you clotting a lot during periods?
If it’s a yes for one or more of the above-listed symptoms, you must immediately see a doctor for the best PMS treatments.
FAQs of Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS) :
- How early can PMS start?
- Premenstrual Syndrome can occur 1 or 2 weeks before the start of periods.
- How long does PMS last?
- PMS tends to disappear with the start of the menstrual cycle. On the extreme side, it lasts ideally for four days after the period for most women.
- What can worsen PMS symptoms?
- Consuming a high-fat diet, saturated fats and refined sugar can worsen PMS symptoms, making you feel bloated.
- What vitamin helps with PMS?
- Vitamin D and Vitamin B6 help in relieving PMS symptoms. Vitamin D helps feel refreshed, and B6 aids in boosting energy.
- Does PMS cause anxiety?
- Yes. As per research, fluctuating hormonal levels lead to a dip in serotonin in the brain, causing depression and anxiety.
- Whom should I consult if I suffer from premenstrual syndrome symptoms?
- If you are facing prolonged issues due to PMS, you must immediately visit a gynecologist for diagnosis and treatment.
PMS symptoms can interrupt your daily routine besides impacting your quality of life. Home remedies and lifestyle changes help reduce the symptoms, yet connecting with a medical professional, especially a gynecologist, is most recommended.
Treatment for PMS begins with getting well acquainted with Premenstrual Syndrome, its symptoms and its causes. Then, it will help connect with the gynecology doctor at the right time to develop a personalized treatment plan.
Are you looking for PMS treatment in Qatar? Allevia Medical Center is one of the best Gynecology hospital in Qatar including the best gynecologists with years of experience of diagnosing and treating menstruation and PMS related issues. So, do not wait till the symptoms turn unbearable. Instead, immediately consult a clinician to better your symptoms and have a happy period.