Bloating, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, and cramps — these are only some of the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. PMS is a set of hormonal changes that occurs seven to 14 days before the ladies’ actual “period”. The symptoms of PMS usually disappear once the actual menstruation starts.
Nowadays, PMS is recognized as a medical condition with physical and psychological symptoms. Medical studies show that about 95 percent of women suffer from over 150 symptoms associated with PMS. The causes of this condition is still unknown but some medical researchers suggest that it is associated to the fluctuations in the levels of hormones like progesterone and estrogen.
Others add that it might be caused by neurotransmitter level changes which includes serotonin, a neurotransmitter which regulates anger, mood, and sexuality. Though the exact causes of PMS are still the subject of research, what is clear is that both men and women should be aware of the ways and means to manage the symptoms of PMS.
Mental and emotional symptoms of PMS may include the following:
- crying spells
- concentrating difficulties
- memory loss
Aspirin, water pills, or hormonal therapy are some of the treatments available for PMS. However, these remedies only alleviate the symptoms for a short period of time. These remedies are also known for producing certain side effects. Instead of taking over-the-counter medications, a few preliminary studies suggest that regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient sleep may alleviate pain and discomfort that PMS brings.
Exercise helps in PMS because it may boost the metabolism and improve circulation. Once the blood circulates properly, it carries sufficient oxygen and nutrients to the cells more effectively and efficiently. When these things takes place, women with PMS may be expected to overcome or reduce their feelings of sluggishness.
Reduction of sluggishness is made possible through aerobic activity and other workouts that promote the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. These natural painkilling substances help boost one’s mood and provide a greater sense of well-being. In addition, these endorphins may help ease anxiety, mood swings, depression that may be experienced during PMS. However, women should be bear in mind that exercise should be done properly. Too much or too intense workouts done in excess of two hours a day may aggravate symptoms rather than relieve them.
Nutritionists and dietitians often advise women who are affected by PMS to consume a very healthy food diet. Increasing carbohydrates during the weeks before menstruation may help alleviate the symptoms of PMS. Carbohydrates may increase the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin, low levels of serotonin has been linked to depression brought by PMS. Vitamins and supplements like vitamin B6 and calcium may also aid in the reduction of PMS symptoms. Eliminating or lessening the intake of alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, salt, and animal fats may also help.
Being stressed out or sleep deprived may elevate many PMS symptoms. Individuals with PMS problems should try to get sufficient sleep and try relaxation techniques like massage, meditation, or hot baths as one’s period approaches.
Symptoms of PMS are usually mild and can be managed by many women. However about five to ten percent of women experience severe PMS symptoms and may need to consult health professionals. Doctors may suggest treatments that may help ease the symptoms of this condition.