Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS for short, describes the psychological and physical symptoms that women experience one to two weeks before their period
4 August 2019| Last updated on 5 August 2019
Women all over the world are familiar with common PMS symptoms like bloating, cramps, mood swings, and headaches.
While these symptoms are only a minor inconvenience for some, others experience such severe symptoms that they have to stay home from work or school.
The reality is that most women experience some level of PMS. As a matter of fact, more than 90% experience PMS symptoms up to two weeks before their period. In this article, our friends at Pacific Prime Dubai will take a closer look at PMS, including symptoms, causes, and treatments, as well as talk about when you should see a doctor.
What is PMS?
PMS is a term used to describe a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms that women experience prior to their period. While the exact cause of PMS is still unknown, natural shifts in hormone levels before menstruation may have something to do with it. After ovulation, estrogen and progesterone levels drop significantly - making hormone levels a likely factor when it comes to PMS symptoms.
Additionally, the dramatic decline in estrogen levels may affect a woman’s serotonin levels, which is a brain chemical known for regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. While severe or debilitating premenstrual syndrome symptoms are far from uncommon, they may indicate an underlying health condition. If you experience severe PMS symptoms, it is best to speak to a doctor.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
PMS symptoms vary from woman to woman. You may experience physical symptoms, such as bloating, or emotional symptoms, such as sadness. It’s also possible to experience both. Physical and emotional symptoms include:
Physical PMS symptoms
- Changes in appetite, such as cravings
- Bloating or gassiness
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Irritability or anger
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or tension
- Feelings of sadness or depression
- Reduced sex drive
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia
- Difficulty concentrating
Symptoms of conditions such as depression and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may worsen with PMS. Age can also affect its severity. What’s more, women may experience worsening premenstrual syndrome symptoms during perimenopause, which is the transitional stage leading up to menopause.
PMS symptoms vs. pregnancy symptoms
While PMS and pregnancy share similar symptoms, the following symptoms are unique to pregnancy:
- A missed period
- Nipple changes
It is advisable to take a home pregnancy test if you suspect that you are pregnant. If the test result is positive, make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the pregnancy and come up with a plan.
How can you tell if it is PMS?
You may not realize right away that your symptoms are related to menstruation, especially if you have an irregular cycle. Keeping track of when symptoms occur can help you recognize patterns. If symptoms occur at the same stage of your menstrual cycle, or at around the same time each month, they can be caused by PMS. Otherwise, the symptoms may be caused by something else.
What to do about premenstrual syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome treatment options vary depending on your specific symptoms. If PMS symptoms affect your daily life, it is best to discuss your options with a doctor. Similarly, you may want to see a doctor if your PMS symptoms don’t improve after trying over-the-counter medications, lifestyle changes, or home remedies.
PMS relief at home
Aside from standard PMS treatments, these tips may help you relieve some PMS symptoms and live a healthier life in general.
Regular physical activity can help with PMS symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and difficulty concentrating.
Maintain a healthy diet
Staying away from foods and beverages with sugar, salt, and caffeine two weeks prior to your period may reduce PMS symptoms.
Get plenty of sleep
Aim to sleep around eight hours per night. Sleep deprivation is linked to anxiety and depression, and can aggravate PMS symptoms such as moodiness.
There are many healthy ways to deal with stress, such as journaling or talking to a friend. Some women also benefit from yoga, meditation, or massage.
Don’t smoke cigarettes
Women who smoke have been found to experience more and worse PMS symptoms than those who do not smoke.
Get the best medical advice possible
As you now know from reading this article, there is not just one approach when it comes to treating PMS symptoms, since they vary from person to person. While adopting a healthy lifestyle and monitoring your symptoms is advisable, there is one thing you can do to stay on top of your health: speak with a specialist.
Instead of simply wondering what’s happening with your menstrual cycle when you experience undesirable symptoms or abnormalities, you could benefit from speaking to a professional. Luckily, Pacific Prime Dubai can help you choose the best private health insurance for women. Likewise, the expert brokers compare health insurance plans so you can find an affordable option that works for you.
Contact Pacific Prime Dubai or visit their website to find out more about expat medical insurance in Dubai.