PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are the symptoms that occur before a period. Most people who menstruate are familiar with some level of discomfort, which is usually treatable by spending a few hours relaxing in our favourite Animal Crossing village. However, some people’s symptoms can be very severe to the point where it heavily impacts their daily life.
PMS symptoms are very common, and can affect people between the ages of puberty and the menopause. PMS can affect how you feel both physically and mentally.
SYMPTOMS OF PMS
The symptoms of PMS usually start during the 5 days before your period, but some people can have them as early as 2 weeks before. These symptoms usually stop 3 or 4 days after your period starts.
There are many different symptoms, some of the most common include:
- Mental (psychological) symptoms include: tension, irritability, tiredness, feelings of aggression or anger, low mood, anxiety, loss of confidence, and feeling emotional. You may have a change in your sleep pattern, in sexual feelings and in appetite.
- Physical symptoms include: tummy bloating (cramps, they really are the worst), breast swelling and/or pain, swelling of the feet or hands, weight gain and an increase in headaches.
HOW TO REDUCE THE SYMPTOMS OF PMS
- Some people find that exercising a few times a week can help reduce PMS symptoms.
- Certain foods and drinks – some people report that reducing the amount of sugar and refined carbs you eat before your period may help your symptoms.
- Some people find that alcohol or caffeine (found in tea, coffee, coke, etc) makes their symptoms worse. You could test cutting out caffeine and alcohol before your period to see if it helps.
- Meditation – avoiding stress or doing relaxation exercises prior to a period can help.
- You can take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to help with cramps or breast tenderness.
If your symptoms are very severe, you can see your doctor who will suggest some suitable treatments.
Some may include:
- SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), including fluoxetine or citalopram – these are depressants but have been shown to ease the symptoms of PMS by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.
- The combined oral contraceptive pill, this pill prevents ovulation which can help reduce PMS.
- Oestrogen patches or gel – this can help improve symptoms by suppressing egg production.
- CBT therapy – This can help you cope with the symptoms of PMS.