PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome – Symptoms & Causes
It’s almost that time of the month and your emotions tend to change faster than the speed of light! If one moment you’re feeling sad and depressed about your life, the next moment you’re so enraged that you want to tear the world apart. Your tummy feels bloated just from a sip of water and you start feeling tired.
But why does all of the above happen? Say hello to PMS.
What is PMS?
PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is the sudden changes in mood or the body that usually occur a week or two before your period. Some even call it the symptoms before period.
From physical (feeling tired, bloated tummy, aching) to emotional (mood swings, PMS depression, crying), these changes can sometimes affect your daily life. But don’t you worry, as a few lifestyle changes and home remedies can help tackle them.
Let’s take a closer look at the symptoms, causes of PMS and some remedies.
PMS Premenstrual Symptoms
From its duration to its symptoms and severity, PMS symptoms differ from person to person.
• Sore breasts
• PMS cramps
• Food cravings or apatite change
• Sleep disturbance
• Mild to extreme mood swings
Just as each woman can have different PMS symptoms, the duration of each PMS premenstrual syndrome can differ from cycle to cycle for the same woman.
Most women experience pre-period symptoms, including period mood swings and premenstrual period cramps, at least 5-11 days before periods.
Why do I have PMS before my period?
PMS occurs after ovulation and before the start of a period. The oestrogen and progesterone levels are at their peak as the egg leaves the ovary. This is because the uterus takes it as a call for fertilisation. But, since there’s no fertilisation happening, the oestrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically. Researchers think that’s the reason why PMS occurs in the days after ovulation.
Oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for mood swings, anxiety and irritability. On top of that, a certain brain chemical called “serotonin” is crucial in triggering the signs of PMS. An insufficient amount of serotonin can cause depression.
Other factors like stress, smoking, alcohol consumption, depression, sleep deprivation, etc., can impact PMS and its severity but do not cause it.
Lifestyle & Home Remedies
Although there’s no way to keep your hormonal changes at bay, you can still try the following period hacks to calm yourself until the hormones amplify.
1. Eat healthy, if you don’t want to regret it later
Eating little and often, helps in more ways than you think. This is critical to keep your blood sugar levels stable as wobbly blood sugar tends to make you more irritable. Remember to incorporate healthy proteins and fats into your diet to ensure the production of sex hormones and neurotransmitters. Avoid junk food because, most of the time, it will just make you feel guilty.
2. Move it, even if you don’t like it
We know just how much you’d dread the idea of exercising when your cramps are not even letting you cover the distance to your bathroom. But exercises like yoga, brisk walking and skipping have proven to have the ability to exert positive effects on your mood. It releases an important brain chemical, “endorphin”, which can help lift your mood.
3. Limit your caffeine intake
Yes, fellow coffee lovers, we have to let you know that excess caffeine intake around your menses can push you to your limit as it has the potential to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system and initiate the release of adrenaline. Over-consumption can make you feel anxious, nervous and jittery.
4. Get that mood-boosting sleep
On average, around 8 hours of sleep a night is recommended to support your mood. Lack of sleep can add to the already hormonal turmoil you’re going through by making you feel even more demotivated, anxious and irritable.
5. Keep calm
Like seriously? How can I keep calm when I’m going through all of this? A just question, but girl, you got to manage your stress.
Stress will not help those period mood swings. We suggest you do yoga or listen to relaxing music or do whatever you think can keep your mind relaxed.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe type of PMS.
The symptoms of PMDD are draining and can severely alter your daily life, including school, work, social life, and relationships. These are not to be brushed off as “bad PMS”. Take charge and seek medical help!
Here’s a table to help you understand better.
Roughly about 80% of menstruator face PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
Approximately 3-8 % of menstruator face PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder).
The symptoms of PMS are manageable.
Symptoms of PMDD are difficult to manage when compared to PMS.
You will notice these symptoms 7-8 days before your period.
The symptoms of PMDD appear soon after ovulation.
PMS can be improved with simple diet and lifestyle modifications. These symptoms resolve with the onset of menses too.
Signs of PMDD also settle with the beginning of menstruation but can occur again after ovulation.
The signs and symptoms of PMS appear to recur every month in a pattern that can be tracked. The emotional changes experienced with PMS can be varied, ranging from slightly noticeable to intense. On the brighter side, you can still tap them easily on the period tracker before your periods start.
Tension, depressed mood, crying spells, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, and appetite changes are some of the emotional premenstrual symptoms you should look out for! Most of these symptoms can be cured by making simple lifestyle changes.
However, if you experience any severe symptoms of PMS, like extreme PMS cramps, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
1. Does PMS worsen with age?
Does PMS change with age? Yes, your hormone levels can go up or down unexpectedly when you grow older. However, you might not have to worry about a drastic change until you are in your 40s or older. That’s when you are closer to experiencing menopause.
However, it is still far away, and you will have enough experience to deal with hormone changes till then. Still, if you feel uncomfortable or afraid, please consult a doctor.
2. When Should We Call the Doctor?
You should call a call doctor when:
• You do not feel better even after trying home treatments
• You are suffering from prolonged and severe mood swings
• You are not able to carry on with your usual activities
• Your periods are over, but the PMS symptoms are still present
3. Can other conditions mimic PMS?
Symptoms of other conditions like depression, stress, perimenopause, chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and thyroid disease can mimic or co-occur with PMS.
Amongst these symptoms, depression and anxiety are the most common states that overlap with PMS.