We need to face it! PMS is not just a condition that you concoct so as to go around blaming it for your mood swings. The struggle is real and it's about time that the world knows about it. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a syndrome that occurs between ovulation and a few weeks prior to your periods. It affects a person's mood, emotions and physical health. Almost 3 out 4 women are impacted by Premenstrual syndrome a week before their periods are expected. It can disrupt a person’s daily life, cause physical uneasiness and emotional pain.
Symptoms vary from person to person, and can be either mild or severe. PMS usually involves a few different symptoms. Listed below are a few symptoms that you might face.
- Anxiety or unusual arrogance
- Struggling to focus
- Depressed mood, may involve sudden crying
- Food cravings
- Mood swings
- Insomnia etc.
It may also affect you physically in the form of :
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Muscle pain etc.
These symptoms usually tend to disappear after four days from the start of your period.
Although, some women with premenstrual syndrome have disabling symptoms that occur every month. This severe form of PMS is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). It causes extreme mood swings, sadness, bloating, hopelessness and anger.
Painful periods are throbbing cramps that accompany the menstrual cycle. Typically, painful periods are also associated with cramping in the lower abdomen, lower back and thighs, heavy bleeding, clots, nausea, loose stools, headache or dizziness.
Now you must be wondering what causes PMS/painful periods to happen? Here are some of the reasons:
- Hormonal Imbalance: Imbalance arises if our body tends to have a lot or less hormones. Even a small imbalance in our hormones can affect how our body functions. Symptoms like irregular periods, acne, weight gain, hair loss, night sweats etc. can be seen.
- Nutrient Deficiencies: Our body needs certain nutrients to function properly. Vitamins are defined as a group of natural organic substances that are needed in small quantities to regulate various metabolic processes. Lack of vitamin D, vitamin B, magnesium and calcium can cause PMS.
- Poor Dietary Choices: Your diet plays a major role in managing PMS. Make sure your diet contains whole grains, protein, fruits, vegetables, foods rich in calcium and high fiber. Try cutting down on salt, fast foods and processed foods.
- Lack of Physical Activity: By exercising you increase your heart rate which helps improve your mood by boosting certain brain chemicals called endorphins. It can in turn help in reducing depression and tiredness. Research suggests that women who perform 60-minutes of physical activity at least three times a week feel much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Inflammatory Foods: Increased inflammation can affect various parts of your body. More inflammation in your body leads to worse PMS conditions. Inflammation can be avoided by consuming foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, proteins and healthy fats.
- Stress: Feeling stressed a week or two before your periods can increase your chances of having PMS. As your cortisol levels increase, you are more likely to have irregular periods. This is a hormone produced by your body when you're under stress. You can reduce your stress levels by practicing yoga or meditation.
- Thyroid Problems: The thyroid gland plays a major role in your reproductive health which directly affects your ovaries and indirectly interacts with your sex hormones. It causes irregular or absent periods.
- Endometriosis: PMS occurs prior to your periods while Endometriosis occurs during your periods. It causes the tissue which usually lines with the uterus to grow outside of it, hence encouraging the development of painful cysts and scar tissues. It is known to cause premenstrual cramps as well.
- Smoking: Nicotine can affect a person's brain which in turn increases susceptibility to environmental factors that can cause irregular periods leading to symptoms that can worsen PMS.
- Alcoholism: It causes an increase in estrogen and testosterone levels which can in turn exacerbate symptoms related to PMS. It can lead to mood swings and worsen cramps.
Treatments for PMS :
- Exercise: It is known to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, tiredness and inability to focus. Always listen to your body and do not overexert your body. It can also reduce bloating.
- Get Sufficient Sleep: Sleep will help calm your mind and help you focus more. It will help make you feel better and reduce fatigue. Try to get approximately around 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Eat a Balanced Diet: Your body loses iron during menstruation. Avoid sugar, caffeine, alcohol etc. Add more carbs, proteins and fats to your diet. It can help in reducing bloating. Drink a lot of water to help stay hydrated.
- Consume Vitamins and Minerals : Such as Vitamin B complex , magnesium, calcium, omega-3. These are known to reduce PMS symptoms including headaches, bloating, cravings and forgetfulness.
- Learn to Cope with Stress: Stress can emotionally affect your body in many ways. Practice yoga or meditation to help reduce stress.
- Increase Cardio-Vascular Activities: It is often proved and shown in research that cardio-vascular activities like running, cycling, skipping, dancing etc. can help ease depression, concentration and tiredness.
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