A staggering 85 per cent of women with a menstrual cycle have at least 1 symptom pertaining to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Tension (PMT). This is according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. With such a high number of women experiencing some indication of PMS, it’s important to be aware of what yours are and if they are serious enough to seek medical help.
Symptoms usually present 1-2 weeks prior to menstruation and may continue until the commencement of your period. Each woman is different. Symptoms can present in isolation or in combination. They may be physical, which includes the following;
- Acne or outbreak of pimples
- Stomach problems; such as bloating, diarrhea or constipation
- Feeling tired and worn out
- Headache or migraine
- Joint or muscle pain
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Appetite changes or food cravings – chocloate is popular
- Weight fluctuations
For many women, emotional changes are common. These not only affect the individual, but can have a significant impact on their relations with others. The most common emotional symptoms include:
- Tension, irritability, mood swings, or crying spells
- Anxiety or depression
- Trouble with concentration or memory
If you have identified one or more of these symptoms; treatment is available. There isn’t a one size fits all solution, so working out what assistance is best for you, is recommended. Lifestyle changes, medications and alternative therapies may be a viable solution.
A healthy lifestyle, will not only assist PMS symptoms, but will improve your overall health and well being.
- Exercise at least 3 times a week
- Eat healthy and avoid salt, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol, particularly when experiencing symptoms
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night
- De-stress, such as gardening, yoga, meditation; whatever works
- Throw the cigarettes away! You know they are slowly killing you
Pain relievers, reduce pain. Loads of women avoid pain meds, but the stress which pain can place on the body, can often override any health benefits of avoiding medications. It’s very much a personal choice. Some PMS associated pain is due to inflammation, cramps, headache and backache. Meds, which reduces these symptoms include ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen and asprin.
Vital vitamins and minerals are lacking in many busy peoples diets. Multivitamins are a great source for all round extra protection. For combating PMS symptoms: vitamins D, B-6 and E are all effective. Folic acid, magnesium and calcium are also recommended.
If you find that you’ve made some changes and your symptoms are still apparent; you will need to visit your GP. The GP, will ask you to track your symptoms. Using a simple PMS tracker will help the GP establish if you have PMS and if it’s mild, moderate or server. Only 3-8 percent of women have severe PMS; known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). For these women, PMS is severe and disabling.
Most women will have a very mild to moderate indication of PMS. Avoid suffering in silence. Most treatment is relatively simple. So, come on ladies; what do you have to lose?
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