If you have had a period, then you likely know all about PMS. From headaches to bloating and cramping, PMS or premenstrual symptoms manifest in many different forms. Although you may have firsthand knowledge of what PMS is, there are several things that you may not know about this monthly occurrence. Here are seven things your gyno may not have told you about PMS
- There is No Formal Definition
Essentially, PMS is defined by the presence of emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms that start to manifest after ovulation and end once menstruation ends. However, there is no formal definition for premenstrual syndrome. Anyone who has had a period is most likely able to describe what it is, but it isn’t particularly defined.
- We Don’t Know What Causes It
While there are many different theories on what exactly causes PMS, actual evidence as to why this occurs is lacking. Especially when it comes to why women’s symptoms and their severities vary so much. Everyone who has a period is going to have differences in hormone sensitivity, bloating, mood swings and monthly flow. We just aren’t exactly sure why. One of the reasons that research is lacking in this area is because of the way society views PMS. Gender bias has always existed in medical research, so it stands to reason that this is why we don’t have much information on how and why PMS happens.
- There Are Over 150 Symptoms
Did you know there are over 150 symptoms that help to define PMS? As all women experience PMS differently, you could have any combination of symptoms on this hefty list. Symptoms are divided into two categories: emotional and physical. Some of the most common emotional symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, depression, irritability, random crying, concentration issues, confusion or sleep disruption. Some of the physical symptoms that you could experience are bloating, chest tenderness, cravings, swelling, headaches, acne and gastrointestinal upset.
- Premenstrual Symptoms Differ from Premenstrual Syndrome
There is some controversy of where exactly the line is between normal PMS and premenstrual syndrome. It is currently estimated that around 15 percent of people with periods have severe PMS. However, it is further estimated that only two to six percent of people have symptoms that are severe enough to qualify for a premenstrual syndrome diagnosis. If you feel as if you may fall into the small percent of people with premenstrual syndrome, talk to your doctor to find out more.
- Diet and Exercise Can Help
Your gyno may not have told you that diet and exercise can help relieve symptoms of PMS. There are things you can leave out of your diet the week before you start your period to help combat some symptoms. For example, cutting back on foods high in sodium can help with bloating. And cutting back on refined sugars can help with hormone fluctuations. Additionally, there are things you should include more of in your diet as well. Try increasing your iron intake to manage the dip in levels that happen as you start your flow. Or try foods with magnesium to help prevent emotional and physical symptoms. To simplify this process, try out vitamins for PMS. Vitamins for PMS contain vitamins and minerals that assist in PMS relief.
Exercise can also help relieve symptoms of PMS. Including daily movement in your routine allows the body to release endorphins, dopamine and serotonin which are all known to be mood boosting chemicals. These mood boosters help combat feelings of sadness, depression and irritability.
- It’s Incredibly Common
PMS is said to effect around 90 percent of women who are of menstruation age. In order to be considered in the 90 percent, all you have to do is display one or more symptoms during the period of time between ovulation and menstruation. It is far less likely that you display no symptoms of PMS, and if you are in that 10 percent, consider yourself lucky.
- It Can Cause Depression
Many of us can feel a little more sad or emotional than usual while we are menstruating. However, there are some women that end up with undiagnosed depression due to PMS. If you suspect that you could have undiagnosed depression due to PMS, make sure you talk to your doctor to help manage your symptoms.
The More You Know
Learning about the things that happen to our bodies on a regular basis can be helpful when it comes to understanding and combating symptoms of PMS. There is still much research to do in terms of what exactly causes this phenomenon, but with the power of knowledge, we can work to lessen our symptoms of PMS.