Lethargy, bloating, mood swings, spotting – many menstruating people experience one or more of these symptoms in the lead up to their period. For some, it is just an inconvenience, but for others it can greatly affect daily life. Why do such symptoms occur and are some people more susceptible than others? We’ve collected some personal views and expert advice on how to deal with PMS.
The term premenstrual tension (PMT) was First coined in 1931 by an American gynecologist, Robert T. Frank, to describe the symptoms experienced by people who menstruate at certain times during their cycles.
Although described Several physical symptoms, such as cyclic asthma, cardiac arrhythmias, and water retention, his primary focus was on what he called “nervous tension”, which caused “inappropriate or unwanted” behaviors. He blamed this “hysteria” in the days leading up to menstruation on excess estrogen.
Since then, clinicians and researchers have lost the idea of hysteria as a general term used to describe any behaviors and conditions that challenge the norms and expectations of a traditional patriarchal society.
Thus, the term PMT has also fallen out of use. Instead, doctors now refer to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can include both mental health and physical symptoms.
And excess estrogen can’t be blamed – levels of both estrogen and progesterone drop dramatically after ovulation, so they are low in the days leading up to your period. However, to date, the exact cause of PMS is not entirely clear.
“The cause of these physical, emotional and psychological symptoms is thought to be caused by hormonal changes and fluctuations, which include estrogen and progesterone, during the menstrual cycle especially one to two weeks before menstruation begins.”
– Dr.. Cheryl RossOB/GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California
What we do know is that a significant number of women experience a combination of symptoms in the days leading up to their period.
Most of these A normal part of the cyclebut for some, it can interfere with daily functions.
According to Dr. Ross, “[p]The art of being a woman is to experience the physical and emotional madness that occurs one to two weeks before your period.”
“Mood swings and emotional disturbances are common symptoms of PMS. Symptoms can include severe depression, tantrums, and extreme anxiety. Crying spells, tantrums, and feeling worthless are part of PMS mood swings.”
Psychological symptoms are common. For most people, it is uncomfortable, but it does not affect daily performance, like 20-year-old Flora* Tell Medical news today: “Like clockwork, the day before my period, I would be moody and short-tempered. […] A lot of times, I forget my period has come, but I find myself feeling emotional for no reason – and then my period comes the next day. The week after my period, I feel great.”
Many women notice physical symptoms as well. Dr. Ross described some of the changes that may occur in the days leading up to a period:
Breast tenderness, weight gain, food cravings, acne, flatulence, bowel changes including gas and diarrhea, feeling hungry, fatigue, menstrual cramps, insomnia, and headaches are some of the physical changes […] For women with premenstrual syndrome.
Not all women will have all the symptoms, she tells Flora MNT: “Physically, I tend to go out in the week before my period, feeling bloated and bloated for a few days.”
Amy*, 25, agreed: “The week before my period, I had severe breast tenderness, my skin was getting oilier and I had skin blisters.”
However, for some people, the physical and psychological symptoms can be severe and debilitating, which may be a sign of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Dr. Ross advised that PMDD should be taken into account if “these emotional changes become disruptive to work or your personal life.”
Current research roughly indicates that 80% Of women who menstruate experience at least one premenstrual symptom each month.
New study from Women’s Mental Health Archives It now found that among the 23,8114 survey participants worldwide, “28.61% reported that premenstrual symptoms interfered with their daily life in each cycle, and 34.84% reported that premenstrual symptoms interfered with their daily life in some cycles.”
The respondents for this study were users of flo health A mobile app, which is a tool for tracking your period. The ages of the respondents ranged between 18 and 55 years.
The most common symptom per cycle, reported by 85.28% of respondents, was food cravings.
Mood swings and anxiety affected approximately 65%, while fatigue was reported in 57%. About 63% of respondents said that their symptoms interfered with their daily lives for at least a few months, with more than 28% reporting an intervention in each cycle.
The researchers suggest that their data suggest that “premenstrual mood symptoms are a major public health problem globally.“
Dr. Jennifer L. Paynewho led the study, commented:[t]Below are a number of treatment strategies available to treat premenstrual symptoms that interfere with a woman’s daily functioning.”
She noted that “increasing awareness of how common these symptoms are, and that if they affect functioning, there are treatments available, which will help women improve their quality of life.”
Some symptoms, such as absenteeism, decreased libido, sleep changes, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, headache, sweating or hot flashes, fatigue, hair changes, rashes, and swelling, were reported by older survey participants.
However, since many of these symptoms are related to premenopause, not all of them may be a result of PMS.
Rachel, a 53-year-old company manager, agreed: “PMS was more noticeable when I was younger – now perimenopause gives a lot of symptoms all the time, but I take HRT. [hormone replacement therapy] So maybe this helps? When I was younger, I definitely used to get places […] But I think that stopped when I had my kids.”
Although the study’s large sample size and international cohort are its main strengths, the authors acknowledge that their numbers may overestimate the incidence of symptoms as the data were self-reported. At the same time, app users are also more likely to be aware of and report premenstrual symptoms.
If PMS is interfering with your daily life, Dr. Ross recommends seeing a health professional: “Never be afraid to see your healthcare provider for support and validation. It is important to discuss any persistent and troublesome symptoms related to your period with her. Diagnosis And treatment options are available to make PMS manageable.”
However, many people can manage their symptoms without medical intervention. One effective method, according to Menstrual issuesa non-profit online information center, is Track your mood For two or three cycles and identify any pattern in your mood changes.
Lottie, 22, thought being in tune with her body really helped me: “Tracking my cycle on an app made me realize that my symptoms, like fatigue, bloating and spots, are completely normal. So far, I’ve let it happen instead of [fight] against it.”
“If I allow myself to rest when I need to in the day or two before my period, I feel much better and also find that my period is much easier,” she added.
Knowing one’s own body can be useful to many people. a
Dr. Ross also advised that modifying the diet may relieve symptoms. “Foods that make PMS symptoms worse include excessive amounts of dairy products including cheese, yogurt, milk, butter, foods high in sodium, red meat and other fatty proteins, caffeinated beverages, and processed foods,” she told us.
She advised “to eat foods that are natural diuretics to reduce bloating, water retention and swelling, such as celery, cucumbers, melons, tomatoes, asparagus, lemon juice, garlic, watermelon and lettuce.”
Lottie found it worked for her: “Avoiding coffee in the few days before and at the start of her period really helps relieve symptoms.”
Exercise can also be beneficial for many people.
“If I’m already a little low in the lead-up to my period, I find I’ll feel more negative and self-critical. If I’m in a happy place mentally and physically, and doing more exercise, my period and period aren’t nearly as bad.”
– Amy, 25
Rachel also commented that the increased stress is affecting her: “I’m lucky, I don’t usually have any major symptoms, just a slight mood change and feeling more irritable. Often I don’t realize I’m premenstrual until I get my period – Then I realized that this is why I was fast. However, it is worse when I am nervous because I probably have more to be irritable!”
“Stress and stress are known to directly affect our health, whether we want to admit it or not. Stress affects not only our bodies physically, but also our emotions and behaviors. Stress exacerbates depression, anxiety, weight loss or weight gain and brain fog. Premenstruation, along with common symptoms of stress, can make one to two weeks before your period exhausting.”
– Dr. cherry ross
These notes are supported by Research. Those who suffer from anxiety are more likely to have symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
according to some researchBeing aware of PMS symptoms makes you more likely to report them and associate physical and psychological symptoms with your period.
However, as Dr. Sally King notes Menstrual issues: “This does not mean that menstruation does not affect mood in any way. It just means that the vast majority of menstruating women do not experience moderate to severe cyclical mood changes, and in the vast majority of people who menstruate, they are not limited to Mood changes before menstruation Just. “
So perhaps more understanding and awareness of physical changes is the answer. Lottie also commented, “Now that I feel more aware of my cycles, I embrace the lows knowing there will be highs to come, like when I ovulate when I feel energetic.”
“I think we should stop looking at the menstrual cycle negatively and learn to celebrate our cycles and our bodies,” she added.
* Disclaimer: We have changed the names of some contributors to protect their identities.
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