A combination of symptoms, just before the onset of menstruation, is what Gynecologist call premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Over 90 percent of women experience some form of PMS—bloating, headache, moodiness, depression, etc. For some, the symptoms are severe enough to warrant taking a day off from work or school. Read on to know more about PMS and how to deal with it:
What is PMS?
PMS or premenstrual syndrome is a bunch of emotional and physical symptoms, experienced during or before the week of your period. In different people, PMS presents differently. Ranging from mood swings to pain and other physical symptoms, everyone experiences PMS differently.
Who gets PMS?
Three out of every four menstruating women experience premenstrual syndrome. For most women, the symptoms range from mild to moderate, but about 5 percent of menstruating women get more severe form of this syndrome. The latter is referred to as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
In women with high levels of stress, history of depression, anxiety or other mental disorder, the intensity of premenstrual syndrome is severe. Such women may need to deal with PMS through mediation and therapy.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
PMS is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms. However, as mentioned before, these symptoms are mostly different for different women. The symptoms range from:
- Breast tenderness
- Cramping in the abdomen
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Intolerance to light
- Low energy
- Low mood
- Food cravings
- Appetite change
- Low interest in sex
- Tension headache
- Feeling tired
- Sleep disturbance
- Memory disturbance
- Trouble concentrating
How is PMS managed?
Keeping a diary to track your symptoms of PMS, and then discussing them with your healthcare provider is one way of dealing with your PMS. This helps you in confirming if these symptoms are indeed a part of PMS.
Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs)
Your healthcare provider may choose to keep you on birth control hormone pills to regulate your hormones if PMS is severe. In some people, OCPs can help with emotional symptoms, breast tenderness and even bloating.
If you do not want to take the medicinal route, there is always the option of lifestyle modification to help deal with PMS. Improvement in diet, regulating exercise, managing stress and adjusting the sleep cycle are some of the suggested ways that improve PMS.
Experts recommend eliminating junk food, excessive sugar, fat and salt from the diet to improve the food cravings and bloating that come with PMS. Not only will these changes improve the gastrointestinal symptoms of PMS, but will also help with the cranky mood around period. Instead, opt for a diet rich in fruits, whole grains and vegetables. These foods will prevent hypoglycemic irritability and keep you full throughout the day.
Not getting enough sleep is enough reason to be low in mood and energy. To battle PMS, it is advised to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep, particularly in or before the week leading to the period. You will see a visible difference with getting sufficient sleep alone.
Stress and the subsequent hormonal changes it brings in the body can intensify the symptoms of PMS. For managing stress, there are techniques like breathing exercises, meditation and yoga to compose the mind and body. If you feel PMS related stress coming on, try calming your mind through these techniques.
Regular exercise manages and regulates the reproductive cycle, in addition to dealing with every day stress. As little as thirty minutes of activity daily, can make you feel better, improve your health and combat the symptoms of PMS. You can choose to walk, cycle, swim or strength train as your mode of exercise. For more intense activity, first get a go-ahead from your Best Gynecologist in Karachi.