Contributed by: Rachana Arya
In the days before menstruation begins, many women navigate a combination of symptoms such as irritability, tiredness, grumpiness, and a depressive state of mind.
The severity of these symptoms may vary from woman to woman. While some women get their periods without any signs of PMS, for others PMS symptoms may be very mild.
Subsets of women have a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that are so severe symptoms every month that they interfere with daily routine as well as the people around.
However, it is not clear why some women are more susceptible to premenstrual syndrome and others do not.
The most likely explanation, based on several studies, is that women who develop PMS are hypersensitive to the effects of hormonal changes.
Premenstrual syndrome explained
Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a syndrome caused by changing hormone levels.
Researchers think that PMS symptoms happen in the days after ovulation in response to the physiological response to the dramatic drop in hormones.
Physical symptoms of PMS can include:
- Tenderness in breasts
- Constipation or diarrhoea
- Cramping and bloating
Emotional or mental symptoms of PMS include:
- Irritable behaviour
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite or food cravings
- Trouble with concentration or memory
- Tension or anxiety
- Crying spells
- Mood swings
Top 5 cures for PMS symptoms
There is plenty of prescription and over-the-counter treatments available to ease the discomfort.
However, there is mounting evidence that certain dietary changes may be beneficial to women who have PMS.
There are several things you can do to help compensate for changing hormone levels including:
Eat a balanced diet
Indulging in comfort foods like chocolate bars, gulping down cups of coffee/tea or skipping meals is not the solution.
These quick fixes, in fact, aggravate the vulnerability of your state. Cleaning up your dietary habits can significantly reduce PMS symptoms.
Eat a diet that’s high in fruits, leafy green vegetables, legumes and whole grains, as well as healthy fats like Omega-3s and Omega-6s.
Limit processed foods and saturated fats as these can make you feel bloated.
Research suggests that aerobic exercise can keep PMS at bay.
Not only is exercise a proven mood booster, but it can also help reduce the amount of pain you feel from PMS.
Plus, exercise helps reduce depression, stress and fatigue.
Get sufficient sleep
Women with PMS are twice as likely to experience insomnia-like problems before their period.
Aim to get plenty of rest and sleep in the days before your period begins.
Practice basic sleep hygiene measures like going to bed and waking up at the same time.
Research shows that a variety of different vitamins and minerals actually can help you cope with some of the symptoms of PMS.
Unfortunately, since there’s not a one-size-fits-all nutrient mix to help alleviate PMS, it is especially important to talk with your doctor before introducing supplements.
When you’re premenstrual, practising breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can help you feel better, both emotionally and physically.
If you’re suffering from cramps, you can help tense muscles relax with yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, self-hypnosis, and meditation.
Most physical and behavioural symptoms of PMS tend to go away within a few days after a woman’s period starts as hormone levels begin rising again.
However, if you experience severe or long-lasting symptoms of PMS, it is recommended that you should see your health care provider.
There is no single test that can diagnose PMS.
A blood count may be recommended to screen for other medical conditions like hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland), both of which have similar signs and symptoms to PMS.
Also, if irregular periods are a frequent occurrence, the irregular menses tests are the best course of action.
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