February can be regarded as the month of love.
After all, does Valentines Day not fall right in the middle of it ?
What better way to show your love for the woman in your life ….
By taking the time to understand what she could possibly be going through…
Month after month…
Read on to discover more about Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS.
Just google it!
You will find many survival tips for “long suffering husbands”.
PMS has been humorously called…..
Prehistoric Monster Syndrome
Perpetual Munching Spree
Pass my shotgun
Pack my stuff
Puffy mid –Section
Pardon my sobbing
Plainly men suck
You can’t tell me that you are not chuckling right now.
But for women who truly suffer from PMS, it can be no laughing matter.It is very distressing if at work or even at home, when true grievances are invalidated by phrases like
“Ignore her,she must be PMSing” or
“ She is in a mood,it must be that time of the month again”
PMS affects millions of women around the world.Classically between the ages of puberty and menopause. In fact, most women will experience it at some point in their lives.
It happens because of a complex interplay of different hormones as they change during the course of the month.Researchers believe that women who really suffer badly ,have an exaggerated response to changing hormone levels during the month.
Feel-good hormones like serotonin during this time of the month have been shown to be low.Serotonin is responsible for curbing depression,irritability, impulsive behavior and carbohydrate cravings.
In a small percentage of women, PMS gets so bad and can even lead to suicidal thoughts. In this instance,it is classified as a Pshychiatric disorder(PPDD).Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.
When doctors diagnose PMS they are looking for the following things;
- symptoms that are present in the 14 days before the period, most commonly in the 5 days before, for at least three menstrual cycles in a row.
- Are cyclical.
- End within four days after the period starts.
- At least one week of symptom free days every month or cycle.
- Interfere with some day-to-day activities.
What are the symptoms?
The list is long….
Take a look below.
They can occur in any combination or number.
To varying degrees.
Emotional Symptoms Physical symptoms
Depression Appetite changes (food cravings)
Anxiety Breast tenderness
Crying Spells Weight gain (true)
Social withdrawal Headaches Poor concentration swelling of hands and feet
Changes in sexual desire Aches and pains
Lack of inspiration Fatigue
Impulsive behaviour Skin changes
Insomnia/ Hypersomnia (too much sleep) Gastrointestinal symptoms
Loss of confidence Pelvic pain
Loss of judgement Accident prone
Weight increased (perceived) Allergies
Diminished efficiency Asthma
There are other conditions that can also look and feel like PMS:
These need to excluded by your doctor;
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Thyroid disorders
SO HOW IS PMS TREATED?
Simply having information about PMS and its symptoms can help sufferers understand what is happening and reduce anxiety. Awareness of feelings and emotions can help prevent conflict with others.
“Talking it through” can also be of help. Sharing feelings with family or, where appropriate, with work colleagues could engender more support.
It is perhaps better to do this not during the worst symptom days, but later in the cycle when emotional outbursts are less likely.
Regular exercise lessens PMS symptoms. It may reduce fatigue and depression. A good goal would be 30min of exercise at least 3-4 times per week. Regular aerobic exercise like brisk walking, running, cycling and swimming can increase endorphin levels. These are naturally occurring painkillers or opiates of the body. Exercise should be regular, not just during the days of symptoms.
Maintaining regular sleeping habits is also important. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends, may help to lessen moodiness and fatigue.
Finding ways to tackle stress by means of relaxation therapy is also helpful. These include breathing exercises, yoga, meditation and massage. Aromatherapy and reflexology can also help to restore equilibrium.
Simple daily dietary modifications can help tremendously. Eating regularly to keep blood sugar levels constant appears to be the key. This can be achieved by avoiding foods that contain processed sugars (biscuits, sweets, soft drinks or fast foods). Complex carbohydrates which are found in foods made with whole grains like whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals are what is recommended. Other examples are barley, brown rice, beans, and lentils. The sugars found in these foods are released more slowly allowing the body to maintain even blood sugar levels. Maintaining constant blood sugar levels can reduce mood symptoms and food cravings by increasing levels of the “feel good” hormone serotonin.
Calcium and magnesium rich foods like dairy products and green leafy vegetables are also of benefit. Reduce intake of saturated fat and salt. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
For women who feel that their diets are not adequate in calcium and magnesium, supplementation is required. Daily calcium intake should be approximately 1000mg and magnesium intake no more than 400mg daily. Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine is an important co-factor in the manufacture of the brain chemicals: dopamine, serotonin and tryptophan. Supplementation is recommended only in conjunction with advice and monitoring by a medical care-giver. Doses should be no higher than 100mg daily but in some women may be as low as 10mg to start with. Caution should be exercised with prolonged usage in high dose as it can lead to a condition called peripheral neuropathy. This means losing feelings in arms and legs which may continue even after supplementation is stopped. Vitamin B6 also improves the body’s usage of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids like omega 3 and 6 have also been known to reduce symptoms.
This has been used in many forms such as oral medication, creams and vaginal pessaries, to alleviate symptoms. Although there is anecdotal evidence that it brings relief if used in the second half of the menstrual cycle, there is no consistent data in the research literature of it being of any major benefit or disadvantage. Further research is awaited in this area.
This category is usually reserved for women with severe symptoms who have had no relief from all of the above interventions. These are on prescription and should not be self-administered. Drugs that are used are:
- Oral contraceptive pill: this stops ovulation and hence hormonal fluctuations, thereby improving symptoms.
- Diuretics/ Water tablets: only in select severe situations of water retention and bloating.
- Antidepressants and Anti-Anxiety: There are many kinds of these available. SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are prescribed by doctors especially in situations of extreme emotional or mood changes and PMDD. They may have negative side effects which can outweigh their benefit and some people have withdrawal symptoms when trying to come off them.
Usually antidepressants don’t take effect for two to four weeks but with PMS they
seem to work within days and hence can be used effectively either throughout the
cycle or two weeks before the onset of symptoms within the cycle.
- NSAID( Non steroidal anti inflammatories): These are effective for the pain
management of PMS symptoms. With prolonged usage or unsupervised usage
however this medication can lead to gastritis or ulcers.
Finding the right PMS treatment may not be instantaneous. Often it involves trying different options based on
individual requirements and symptoms. Starting with general lifestyle measures often brings significant relief. Drug
interventions are reserved for women who despite everything else still require more help.
For a woman, showing you care means that you take an interest in all she is experiencing- the good and the bad.
Just being there with a hug and a kind word of understanding will make her melt.
Especially as she struggles through her symptoms related to her period.
So guys,show her that you actually do care…
And girls, show this article to your guy…