A few days before starting her menstrual period, a woman usually experiences symptoms such as tender breasts, muscle aches, and bloating.
However, when these symptoms affect your daily life, they are considered PMS, ore premenstrual syndrome. PMS can have an effect on your body, mood, and even your behavior in the days before your period.
Some women begin experiencing PMS in their teens or 20s. However, others don’t get their first PMS experience until they’re in their 30s. These symptoms could become worse as you get into your late 30s and 40s, approaching perimenopause.
You should be aware that PMS is directly related to the hormonal changes that occur during your menstrual cycle. Physicians have not pinpointed why some women have PMS symptoms that are much worse than others.
Additionally, PMS tends to run in families- meaning if you have a family member that has experienced increasingly worse PMS symptoms as they age, you’re more likely to have the same problems.
Other things that can increase your chances of experiencing PMS are: not getting adequate amounts of Vitamin B6, magnesium, or calcium in your diet.
Additionally, things such as lack of exercise, high stress levels, and too much caffeine can cause symptoms to be much worse.
Symptoms of PMS
Some of the most common physical symptoms of PMS include the following:
- Swollen/tender breasts
- Cramps/low back pain
- Lack of energy
It’s also very common to experience some emotional/mental symptoms of PMS such as the following:
- Trouble focusing
- Trouble staying alert
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Symptoms of PMS may be very strong or may be hardly noticeable and are likely to be different from month to month.
When these symptoms become severe, it is a condition that is referred to as PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. However, don’t worry- PMDD is a very rare condition.
In order to diagnose PMS, your physician will perform a physical exam and ask you a few questions about your symptoms.
It is very important to make sure that your symptoms are not being caused by a more serious condition, such as thyroid disease.
Your physician will have you keep a journal of your symptoms for 2-3 months. This is referred to as a menstrual diary and can help you to keep track of when your symptoms begin, the severity of those symptoms, and how long they typically last. Your physician will use this to help determine whether or not your diagnosis is PMS.
Controlling PMS Symptoms
You may be able to make a few lifestyle changes to help control your PMS. These changes are as follows:
- Eat healthy foods, such as fruits, veggies, proteins, and whole grains
- Get plenty of exercise
- Take extra calcium and Vitamin B6
- Cut back- you don’t have to give it up entirely- on chocolate, salt, alcohol, and caffeine
- For pain, consider using ibuprofen, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory
If the above changes don’t help to improve your symptoms, speak with your physician. He/she may be able to make other recommendations or possibly prescribe medications.
Natural Ways to Treat PMS Symptoms
First of all, you should be aware that taking proper care of your body can fight off an array of diseases and disorders, including PMS. Following are a few lifestyle changes that you should consider incorporating all the time for your overall health.
- Moderate exercise a few days each week can help to alleviate your PMS symptoms.
- Make sure to get plenty of rest. Just before and during your period, you’re likely to experience symptoms of fatigue. Listen to your body and get as much rest as you can. If your schedule is flexible, try to sneak in a nap. On the other hand, if you work a regular 9 to 5 job, you should try to get in bed earlier.
- Especially when the symptoms of PMS begin to rear their ugly head, you should try to cut back on caffeine, salt, and alcohol. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Also, if you find that you’re experiencing stomach pain, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of eating three large meals each day, this will reduce pressure on your abdomen.
There have been several studies that suggest PMS symptoms are the body’s way of alerting you that it needs more of certain vitamins and minerals. Adding these to your daily routine can help to curb PMS symptoms before they even start.
- Symptoms of PMS and symptoms of calcium deficiency have a lot in common. Make sure that you’re getting 1200 milligrams of calcium every day naturally from food. If you’re not able to get it through food, consider taking supplements.
- In order to alleviate symptoms of PMS, you want to take 400 IUs of Vitamin E each day.
- If you tend to retain water during your period, making sure you get 200 milligrams of magnesium every day can make a big difference.
- If you add 100 milligrams of Vitamin B6 to that mix, you will not only give a boost to the magnesium, you’ll also fight off depression related to PMS.
In addition to making lifestyle changes and making sure you get adequate amounts of specific vitamins and minerals, there are some herbal remedies that can help to curb symptoms of PMS.
- Black Cohosh can help significantly with depression and insomnia. The common dosage of black cohosh is 40 milligrams. Some women experience upset stomach with black cohosh, so if you’re new to this supplement, watch for that- understand that it’s not dangerous.
- Chasteberry has been used by women for thousands of years to fight of the symptoms of PMS. In order to make sure it is effective, you should find a 6 percent extract, which is four milligrams per pill.
- Evening Primrose Oil can help to alleviate breast tenderness, as long as you take 3 to 4 grams daily during your period. It’s not necessary to take it all the time.