PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is a condition that affects women’s emotional and physical health and behaviour, usually before the menses begin. Women experience the symptoms of PMS at varying degrees. However, if it impairs your ability to function or interferes with your regular life, it is necessary to get medical attention as soon as possible.
It is also essential to pay attention to your PMS Symptoms to ensure that you do not suffer from any other severe condition like Premenstrual dysphoric disorder that can lead to many mental health issues and physical issues.
The Textbook Symptoms of PMS
There are several symptoms of PMS experienced by women. However, some of them are more common than others. These symptoms usually manifest about 14 days before your periods and may last for up to 7 days after.
Usually, PMS symptoms are attributed to the fluctuating hormonal levels in the body. However, recent studies have shown that the actual mental and physical stress caused by periods are bigger contributing factors to the different symptoms.
Some textbook symptoms of PMS are:
- Abdominal bloating
- Pain in the abdomen
- Craving for certain types of foods
- Soreness of breasts
- Increased sensitivity to light, smell or sound
- Change in sleep patterns
- Emotional outbursts
In severe cases, such as PMDD, these symptoms prevent the individual from going about their daily routine. They may even turn into extraordinarily aggressive behaviour and even thoughts of suicide if left undiagnosed. This is why women need to be vigilant of PMS symptoms’ effects on their daily routine.
Who is at Risk of Developing PMS Symptoms
Although it is widely believed that women always experience PMS symptoms when they have their periods, it is a misconception. Some women experience very mild symptoms that have almost no negative impact on their lives.
However, it is a known fact that certain genetic and lifestyle factors put you at a higher risk of developing these PMS symptoms. Some of them include:
- A family history of mental health issues like depression and anxiety
- Family history of PMS
- Any physical trauma
- Emotional trauma
- Substance abuse
- Mental health issues like anxiety, depressive disorder or seasonal affective disorder
Dealing with PMS Symptoms
Unless the PMS Symptoms are severe, there are some measures that you can take to control them:
- Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated.
- Consuming a balanced diet helps keep your overall energy levels up.
- Supplements like Vitamin D, Vitamin B-6, Folic Acid, or Magnesium can reduce abdominal cramps and emotional distress issues.
- Ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night to reduce fatigue
- Exercise if you can as it keeps the levels of your happy hormones high, reducing emotional distress which is a prevalent PMS symptom.
- Reduce stress as much as possible.
- In the case of bloating or water retention, consuming a diuretic is known to help.
- A hot bag or a warm bath is one of the best remedies for abdominal pain and cramps.
When Should You See the Doctor
When PMS symptoms are persistent and interfere with your life, you must go to a doctor. This includes any physical pain or emotional symptoms that do not let you function normally. It is not only important to reduce the symptoms but is also crucial to rule out any underlying health issues like:
- Thyroid disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Connective tissue diseases
- Rheumatologic diseases
The doctor may also look into your family history of any persistent mental health issues. Following the diagnosis, your doctor may recommend medication to control PMS Symptoms or treat underlying health issues, if any.
Many experts recommend that you maintain a log of PMS symptoms to determine if you are only experiencing a few symptoms or have pre-Menstrual Syndrome, a medically diagnosed health issue.