All women experience period symptoms, some are heavy while others are mild. Although every woman manifests different symptoms, knowing your own symptoms will help you keep track your own monthly cycle as well as predict when it is coming.
Menstruation has been an integral part of a woman’s life. The monthly cycle keeps a woman’s ability to conceive intact awaiting your willingness to get pregnant. During the menstrual cycle, the ovaries will release one egg to your uterus and stay there for several days. When fertilization does not occur, the body discharges it as well as the tissue lining resulting to menstruation. The amount of blood flow a woman has range from light to heavy menstrual flow normally associated with different symptoms such as breast tenderness, abdominal cramps, water retention, reduced energy levels, mood swings and many more.
Period Symptoms Defined
The group of symptoms a woman feels that is associated with the forthcoming menstrual cycle is called period symptoms or premenstrual syndrome. Premenstrual symptoms often stop shortly after menstruation starts. Although most women experience mild discomfort with their impending menstrual cycle, some find it too heavy that they need to ingest birth control pills to manage them. While some even find it unbearable that the need to leave from work or school for a day is a must.
What are the signs and symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome?
There is a long list concerning the signs and symptoms of PMS and every woman has her own manifestations. However, some experience severe emotional and physical stress that affect their day to day functions. But PMS symptoms usually improve and disappear when menstruation begins. Here are the common physical and emotional symptoms of PMS.
• Physical symptoms
Physical symptoms of PMS a woman feels may range from light to heavy such as headache, fatigue, abdominal bloating, acne explosion, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain as well as breast tenderness. Abdominal cramps and pain normally occurs during the first five days of the menstrual cycle. Aside from that, food cravings are relatively normal which are caused by your body’s change in hormone levels. If you don’t control your cravings, you’ll surely gain extra weight.
• Emotional symptoms
Emotional symptoms are also normal during your menstruation. Mood changes, confusion, anxiety, irritability and depression are very common to period symptoms. While some women also manifest other symptoms such as anger, crying spells, change in appetite, social withdrawal and insomnia.
These symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes. However, you may have to see a doctor if period symptoms have been seriously affecting your daily functioning and overall health.
What are the causes of PMS?
The exact culprit of PMS remains a mystery. However, experts believed that it is closely associated to the changes in the woman’s hormonal levels throughout her menstrual cycle. In addition, several factors can also affect the intensity of PMS symptoms.
• Depression – some women suffering from severe PMS may have undiagnosed psychiatric problem.
• Poor diet – it was noted that low a diet low in vitamins and minerals can cause period symptoms. Moreover, eating plenty of salty foods may lead to fluid retention while caffeinated and alcoholic beverages can alter energy levels and moods.
• Stress – although it is not a direct cause but stress can worsen PMS symptoms.
How is Period Symptoms diagnosed?
There’s no specific diagnostic test or physical examination to diagnose PMS. However, keeping track of your PMS symptoms on a calendar is proven to be helpful to confirm that you have PMS. Your doctor will ask you to log your PMS symptoms at least a couple of menstrual cycles on a diary or calendar. Take note of the first and last day of your menstrual flow as well as the PMS symptoms you’ve experienced. Moreover, your doctor may also want to know your lifestyle, eating and exercise habits as well as your job.
What are the treatments available for PMS?
Until now, there is no known cure for period symptoms but switching to a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy foods, having regular exercise and taking medications help in reducing the intensity of PMS symptoms. Prescription medications are given based on the intensity of your premenstrual syndrome and this may involve trying various medicines to determine the one that suits you best. Examples of these prescribed medications are antidepressants, oral contraceptives and diuretics. If you’re considering using over-the-counter medications, it is best that you discuss this with your doctor before taking these drugs.
Is there something that can be done to manage Period Symptoms?
Definitely! In fact, keeping track of your PMS symptoms is your key to modifying your lifestyle as you go through your monthly cycle.
• Dietary Changes
With regards to your diet, it is recommended that you consume foods rich in complex carbohydrates which include cereals, whole grains, pasta, whole-grain breads, fruits and veggies. You must also eat fiber-rich foods and protein. Eating smaller yet frequent meals have been proven to lessen bloating while multivitamin supplements are also helpful in managing period symptoms. On the other hand, limit your consumption of salt and salty foods several days before your menstruation starts to decrease fluid retention and bloating. It is also helpful if you cut back on caffeinated and alcoholic beverages to lower your depression and tension.
• Regular Exercises
It is recommended that you engage in some form of aerobic exercise for 30 minutes up to 6 times a week which includes swimming, cycling or brisk walking. Regular exercises effectively help in your overall health as well as improve periodic symptoms like depression and fatigue.
• Stress Management
Getting the recommended 8-hour sleep effectively helps in stress management. Even simple deep-breathing exercises help in reducing anxiety, headaches and even insomnia, while yoga is also proven to be helpful in relieving stress. Stressful events have already been part of our lives, but it is best that you schedule an anticipated stressful event after your menstrual period.
You should know that treatment plans differ from person to person. That is why it is best to be patient in finding the periodic symptoms treatment and management that works for you best.