Pre-Menstrual Syndrome: what it is and how it affects your cycle
Most women have felt it at some point, some more intensely than others. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome is not an illness, but it can be very disruptive of someone’s life and should be taken seriously.
What is Pre-Menstrual Syndrome?
Pre-menstrual syndrome is a collection of symptoms that women may feel in the days or weeks before they menstruate. The symptoms are not the same for every woman and can also vary from month to month. These are some common symptoms:
Physical PMS symptoms:
- Breast tenderness;
- Acne or oily skin;
- Greasy hair;
- Stomach problems;
- Changes in the sexual drive;
- Tiredness and sleeping troubles;
- Decreased or increased appetite;
- Constipation or diarrhoea;
- Hot flushes or cold sweats;
- A general feeling of being sick.
Emotional and psychological PMS symptoms:
- Anxiety, irritability, feeling down;
- Mood swings;
- Trouble concentrating;
- Reduced self-confidence;
- Feeling overemotional or overwhelmed;
- Clumsiness or forgetfulness.
Yes, this list is huge. We know. If any of the symptoms of PMS is just too much, like unreasonable pain, very violent mood swings, debilitating tiredness, or anything that seriously hinders your ability to do your daily life, seek medical advice.
You can (and should) get help if your PMS is just too much – you could be suffering from Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which is an extreme form of PMS.
Why does Pre-Menstrual Syndrome happen?
Unfortunately, PMS is still a bit of a mystery. It is not yet fully understood why women go through Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, but the consensus is that it is tightly linked with all the brutal hormonal changes happening in your body.
As you know, hormones have an impact on your body and some women are more susceptible than others. Some very lucky women do not experience PMS at all! Can you imagine?
How does Pre-Menstrual Syndrome affect your cycle?
In fact, PMS does not affect your cycle. Your cycle is most likely causing your PMS. Sorry. Every month a truckload of hormones is dumped into your organism. These hormones have a lot of effects – some not so good.
But fortunately, as soon as your period comes, the symptoms should ease or even go away. Hormonal birth control can sometimes help with some of the symptoms, especially the physical ones.
What to do (and not to do) to ease the symptoms of PMS?
• Do regular exercise
Doing regular physical exercise is great for your health – both physical and mental. And when you have PMS it is no different! There are a lot of benefits to exercising while on PMS or period!
• Eat healthily
Yes, we know. When PMS-ing or on your period you crave loads of unhealthy foods. We do too. And you know what? You should not restrict yourself too much! You are allowed a break. However, bear in mind that fatty and processed foods might not help the stomach problems, the bloating, the acne, and so on. Check out what foods to eat on your period.
• Drink a lot of water
Haha, yes, we really did sneak water in here. Water is literally life! Keep always hydrated, and especially when you’re going through Pre-Menstrual Syndrome. Drinking 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day will seriously change your life. And your skin. And your hair. And your mood.
• De-stress and try to relax
Easier said than done, but just look for what works for you. Is it yoga? Meditation? A night with friends? A night in with your better half? Netflix and ice-cream? Additionally, try to remove sources of stress from your life (difficult, we know); stock up on tampons or pads – create a Period Box that gets delivered monthly to your door!
• Painkillers might be an option
Some people have a lot of pain both during PMS and during the period and need to take some light painkiller. It is totally ok if cleared by your GP or gynaecologist. If you want to try more natural, home remedies for cramps, check this list out.
• Track your cycle
While it doesn’t exactly ease-out symptoms, a period tracking app can help you be more prepared. Another thing that can indirectly help you is keeping a period diary and writing down your symptoms and the level of severity in case you need to show it to your GP.
Take care, Of yourself. Of your planet. Of your vagina.