PMS, like menstruation, is an unavoidable part of every woman’s life. Although some women tend to experience milder symptoms, others have it for the worse. PMS can have a negative impact on a woman’s life, and yet it represents an event that we are incapable of avoiding. So let’s discuss the basics of PMS and its symptoms and maybe share some tips and tricks that you might find beneficial in your struggle with the common PMS symptoms.
What Is PMS?
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome and is referring to the physical and mental symptoms that a woman is experiencing in a week or two weeks prior to her menstrual period. About 90% of menstruating women experience PMS symptoms prior to their menstrual period. PMS symptoms tend to worsen as the woman is growing older. The symptoms can especially worsen during the period of perimenopause, which is the transitional period that leads up to menopause.
PMS is also known to worsen the already existing symptoms of depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and diabetes. Ask a gynecologist for advice on how to better control your PMS symptoms and the symptoms of your chronic disease to assure a better quality of life during the PMS period.
[Also Read: Best Doctor for Diabetes]
When Do PMS Symptoms Start?
Although there is no exact cause linked to the common PMS symptoms, it is thought that the normal changes in the hormonal levels, especially in the estrogen and progesterone levels, are the ones that are responsible for these symptoms. Because the estrogen and progesterone levels are declining after ovulation, it is thought that these events exactly are causing the characteristic PMS symptoms. The PMS symptoms can develop as early as 14 days or two weeks prior to the menstrual period; however, on average, the PMS symptoms occur 5 to 11 days prior to the menstrual period.
What Are The Most Common PMS Symptoms?
For some women, PMS does not represent an issue since they are experiencing mild to no symptoms at all. For others, PMS is causing them real struggles and often impairs them to take part in their normal everyday lives. As mentioned earlier, PMS is known to cause physical and/or physiological symptoms.
The Most Common Physical PMS Symptoms Include;
- Tender and/or swollen breasts
- Food cravings
- Abdominal bloating
- Menstrual cramps
- Acne breakouts
- Headaches etc.
On The Other Hand, The Most Common Psychological Symptoms Include;
- Mood swings
- Declined libido etc.
How Long Do PMS Symptoms Last?
As discussed earlier, the PMS symptoms can last around two weeks to 5 days prior to the menstrual period. Once the menstrual period starts, the PMS symptoms are replaced with the common symptoms of the menstrual period. Some symptoms such as tender breasts, abdominal bloating, food cravings, headaches, etc. which we mentioned being characteristic PMS symptoms are known to continue throughout the menstrual period itself. Other symptoms, such as low back pain, vaginal bleeding, and pelvic cramping, are known to develop as the characteristic symptoms of menstruation.
How To Relieve PMS Symptoms?
If the common PMS symptoms are representing a real issue in your everyday life, you can consult some of the best doctors to share some tips and tricks on how to relieve these symptoms better. Let’s list some of the best ways to relieve PMS symptoms at home.
- Drink a lot of fluids that will help reduce the abdominal bloating;
- Take dietary supplements including calcium, Vitamin B6, folic acid, and magnesium to better control your mood swings and reduce the abdominal cramps;
- Sleep 7 to 9 hours a night to fight fatigue;
- Practice yoga and Pilates to help improve your overall physical and mental health;
- Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, salt, and sugar and focus on eating more fruits and veggies instead to prevent additional worsening of the symptoms, especially your mood swings and abdominal bloating;
- Eat a well-balanced diet to maintain your physical and mental health, but also to give you the energy you need throughout the day.
If you are struggling with severe PMS symptoms, do consult a doctor. Your doctor can prescribe some diuretics, painkillers, and oral contraceptive pills to help you go through the period of PMS easier. Of course, you will be advised to let your body fight the symptoms at first, and if no progress is made, you can ask a doctor about the option of using the common medications that we have discussed.
Are you struggling with abdominal bloating and tender breasts? Are you craving more sweets than you normally do? Perhaps you are struggling to fall asleep this past couple of days. Could it be that your body is preparing to go through that period of the month? Yes, these PMS symptoms are likely caused by the hormonal fluctuations that are happening in your body and serve as an alarm system that is telling you that the menstruation period is coming. Not to worry – with the effective tips and tricks that we have had to share today, we believe that you can go through this period more easily than ever.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing.