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?
Image via http://araratnews.am/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/begadang.jpg
Miss Nutrition, professional athlete and model Rhionnon Harris has come runner-up in the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness competition and understands the importance vitamins and minerals has on achieving optimal health. With an abundance of shakes, supps and pills saturating the marketplace, consumers are spending thousands of dollars on multi-vitamins that, if taken incorrectly, can do more damage than good. Here’s her guide on the vitamins and minerals in common use:
A quality daily multivitamin is your first step to fill in the gaps in micronutrients. Some specific vitamins and minerals will need to be taken in larger amounts than can be found in a once daily capsule however. A multi should encompass your daily needs of all the B vitamins which enhance energy production and cognitive ability. Some B vitamins are also heavily depleted in those taking antidepressants.
Plays a role in cortisol metabolism and synthesis as well as strengthening the immune system and antioxidant status. Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties protect cells and their DNA from damage and mutation- It supports the body’s immune system, the first line of defence against cancer, and prevents certain cancer-causing compounds from forming in the body.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Found in all meats and in higher amounts in salmon and fresh water fish. Can also be supplemented with a fish oil capsule. Look for quality products screened for heavy metals. This essential fatty acid help maintain a healthy hormonal balance, increase serotonin (our “happy” brain chemical) and manage blood sugar levels as well as a host of other benefits.
I recommend checking blood levels of vitamin D before supplementation. Vitamin D deficiency is very common in many people and a deficiency can lead to all sorts of problems including immune system dysregulation and depression.
For women who are menstruating, iron is lost during menses. It is very important to replace this iron which can be found primarily in red meat and spinach. I recommend looking for a multi that contains iron. For non-menstruating women then iron may be avoided. Iron free multi-vitamins are easy to access.
Another nutrient many people are deficient in. A dose before bed helps promote good quality sleep and restfulness.
I call this the antioxidant of the womb. Vitamin E encourages healthy communication between cells and a healthy menstrual cycle
Couple the above with healthy eating habits and some external stress management like meditation, yoga and good sleep patterns to help combat the daily stresses of being the wonder woman you are.
Excess amounts of alcohol can interfere with your sleeping patterns, which in turn affects your well-being.
Eat foods rich in Vitamin B
Try to eat loads of fruit and vegetables, wheat germ, seeds, nuts, whole grain, fish and dairy produce. Vitamin B is required for the production of energy.
Eating large meals
If you pig out at lunch time and then at dinner you will feel relatively drained afterwards. To prevent this from happening, the experts recommend eating small meals often.
Okay, you’re in the office. It’s only 2pm and your energy levels are at an all time low. Concoct your own drink to zap those blues. Mix one banana, one mango (if in season), half a medium-sized pineapple, 150ml milk or a small carton of plain low-fat yoghurt and one teaspoon of honey in a blender. The great thing about this drink is a banana is a far better source of energy than a bar of a chocolate.