One of the most uncomfortable times in a woman’s life is the days leading up to her period. Over 90% of menstruating women suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome, commonly referred to as PMS. PMS occurs shortly after ovulation, a week or two before the beginning of a woman’s menstruation. It brings with it both physical and emotional changes in a person’s body. PMS occurs after ovulation due to the rapidly decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone. These symptoms last the first few days after a woman’s period starts as her hormone levels begin to rise again.
Some people do not experience any symptoms at all, while others do severely. Some can suffer so intensely that it makes everyday activities difficult to accomplish, finding it necessary to stay home from work or school. These symptoms can change after childbirth and stop altogether once a woman reaches menopause. At times, if these symptoms are too severe, it can indicate that the person is suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Consult your doctor if you think you might suffer from this.
Researchers are unaware of what causes PMS aside from the change in hormone levels during a menstrual cycle. These hormone levels vary and may affect some women more than others.
Some of the most common physical PMS symptoms are:
The most common mental/emotional symptoms are:
- Mood Swings
- Decreased/Increased Sex Drive
- Change of Appetite and Increased Cravings
How To Relieve or Lessen PMS Symptoms
Relief can vary from person to person depending widely on the severity of the symptoms. There are a number of both medical and natural ways to help combat PMS symptoms.
Many of these symptoms can be lessened or fully relieved by taking over-the-counter painkillers. These medications help with symptoms such as headaches, backaches, and cramps. This medication comes in the form of:
Hormonal Birth Control is also widely known to help lessen severe PMS Symptoms. However, it can also make other symptoms worse. Talking to a doctor before self-diagnosing and going on hormonal birth control is recommended.
There are many natural and at-home PMS remedies to help relieve a woman of these uncomfortable side effects:
- Food: Certain foods can significantly assist during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that help blood vessels’ walls relax and improve circulation by lowering blood pressure. Avocado contains potassium, which acts as a natural diuretic, lessening breast tenderness and bloating symptoms. Other foods include beets, greens, pulses, bananas.
- Stay Active: Running, walking, biking, or swimming for at least 30 minutes can help alleviate some intense symptoms. Regularly exercising improves a person’s overall health but can be especially beneficial when combating PMS symptoms such as fatigue and depression.
- Stress Management: Meditating and breathing are some of the most beneficial stress-relief exercises a person can do, especially during their menstrual cycle.
- Getting Enough Sleep: This is especially important during a woman’s period because fatigue is already a common symptom. Women, on average, should get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.