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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in women. They usually develop between ovulation and menstruation. Then, symptoms ease when the period begins. They may completely disappear for up to 2 weeks, but then reappear again during ovulation.
Most women are familiar with the smorgasbord of PMS symptoms that visit each month. They may be mild or severe, and are usually a signal that your period will begin soon.
Mild PMS symptoms, like tiredness, can be annoying.
Severe PMS symptoms, like extreme irritability and fatigue, can disrupt a woman’s life. Sometimes, it relates to an undiagnosed health condition.
Premenstrual syndrome is a complicated subject. Even researchers are still scrambling to understand it, as there are many factors involved.
Current studies suggest that PMS relates to a complex interplay between:
Cyclic hormones – Estrogen and progesterone levels fall significantly after ovulation, if you’re not pregnant.
Brain chemicals – Ovulation tends to lower the neurotransmitters serotonin and gamma butyric acid (GABA). This can lead to mood swings, fatigue, tiredness, sleep problems and food cravings.
Natural therapists believe that a sluggish liver also contributes to premenstrual syndrome.
The liver handles processing excess estrogen. If it can’t do its job properly (for whatever reason), estrogen builds up in the body and contributes to PMS symptoms. More research is needed to clarify how much the liver contributes to PMS.
Approximately 3 out of 4 women experience premenstrual syndrome at some point in their life. Just because it’s super common, doesn’t mean it’s normal though.
If you have signs of PMS every month, especially if they’re severe, your body is telling you it has a hormone imbalance. Seeking PMS treatment that addresses the underlying cause is always the best choice.
PMS treatments vary depending on the type of premenstrual syndrome you’re dealing with:
It’s important to remember that men usually learn about PMS from observing the women in their lives. This leaves many males wondering ‘What does PMS stand for?’ and confused about why it makes some women more sleepy and grumpy than usual.
Ladies, don’t be afraid to tell your man that PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. And that you know it can be a challenging time, but you’re doing the best you can. (Being female can be tough, right!?)
If you struggle with premenstrual syndrome, it may help to know these celebrities have had a tough time with it too.
Chrissy Teigan, model and TV personality, isn’t afraid to share the truth about her cycle. She’s shared photos of hormonal acne breakouts and even wrote on social media:
“I am either pms’ing or on my period. nothing else. that is my cycle.”
Bridget Malcolm, a Victoria’s Secret model, revealed on Instagram that she suffers from PMDD. She spoke honestly about when she was at a photo shoot and her PMDD flared up:
“I was an anxious wreck, second guessing myself and terrified of the dark. It has been a hellish couple of weeks for my anxiety and general mental wellbeing.”
The main symptoms and signs of PMS include:
Physical: Fatigue, tiredness, poor sleep, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, acne, carbohydrate cravings, breast tenderness, sore nipples, water retention, period pain, headaches, night sweats, sore muscles
Emotional: Anxiety, depression, easily overwhelmed, irritable, sensitive to criticism, mood swings, deep sadness, poor concentration, decreased self esteem, weepiness.
Premenstrual syndrome has no specific cure. However, PMS treatments can help to decrease symptoms and improve quality of life.
Science is still investigating all of the factors that contribute to PMS symptoms. However, these factors are known to play a role in the condition:
Here are some natural, drug-free premenstrual syndrome treatments:
A Healthy Diet that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and plant proteins is best for dealing with PMS. This type of diet gives your body the nutrients and fibre it needs to support the liver, gut and hormones. Restricting dairy products, red meat and salty foods for 1-2 weeks before your period is also useful.
Limit Alcohol and Caffeine to reduce PMS symptoms. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals recommends avoiding these substances as much as possible, as they alter estrogen, progesterone and cortisol levels.
Relaxation Techniques benefit your hormones by supporting gut health, sleep, stress levels, and mental health. Try massages, meditation, yoga, reflexology and other self-care appointments that bring you joy. It’s important to balance exercise with relaxation.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective PMS treatment. It stimulates the release of neurotransmitters that help you feel good and minimise pain.
Supplements can help with the gamut of PMS symptoms. The trick is finding the one that’s best suited to you. Chaste Tree Berry can help regulate estrogen/progesterone levels. Vitamin B6 can reduce irritability and mood swings. Magnesium supports neurotransmitters, gut health and prostaglandin status.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy may be useful if your PMS symptoms include anxiety, depression, other mood disorders or pain. Studies show it can help women deal with these issues, even though it isn’t the best option in every situation.
The following health experts can help with PMS:
Here’s how to support women with premenstrual syndrome:
How long does PMS last before your period?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can last up to 2 weeks before your period begins. Symptoms usually decline quickly once bleeding begins.
What does PMS stand for?
PMS stands for Premenstrual Syndrome.
What are 3 PMS treatments?