According to studies, three out of four women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in some form or the other. These symptoms are often very predictable, changed only by certain factors like a recent pregnancy, sudden weight gain, a medical condition or more. The intensity can vary from mild and barely noticeable to extremely uncomfortable and unbearable.
Depending upon your age, body weight, overall health and use of medication, you will experience only some of those listed below.
- Depression and feeling low without any obvious reason—in some cases, you may not want to get out of bed the whole day
- A bloated feeling in the abdomen area
- Acne and breakouts
- Tenderness in the breasts
- Feeling tired even though you may be well-rested
- Sudden weight gain as a result of fluid retention
- Bowel problems—constipation or diarrhea
- Lack of interest in socializing
- Not being able to concentrate
- Difficulty in falling or staying asleep
- Changes in appetite—want to eat more or less, sudden food cravings
- Sudden episodes of irritability, anger, crying, withdrawal, forgetfulness
- Pain in the body
The exact causes of PMS are not yet known, but it can be attributed to:
- Change In Your Hormonal Cycle: Hormonal changes in your body can cause various symptoms that are related to PMS. These will disappear during pregnancy or once you hit menopause. (Related Article: 5 Simple Ways To Naturally Balance Your Hormones)
- Chemical Changes In Your Brain: Serotonin is a brain chemical that affects the way your mood is—up or down. A shift in this chemical can cause some PMS symptoms, especially ones that are more emotional than physical.
- Depression: While depression is one of the symptoms during PMS, if you already suffer from depression, it can worsen the symptoms. (Related Article: What Causes Depression?)
How Is It Diagnosed?
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, you most likely have PMS if you:
- Experience the symptoms two weeks before your period is due.
- Feel that the symptoms are causing a major disruption in your normal life.
- Have visited your doctor and any other cause for these symptoms have been ruled out.
How To Manage PMS
PMS as a condition cannot be prevented, but you can surely minimize its effect by making some changes in your overall lifestyle. Practice healthy eating and sleeping habits and exercise at least three times a week. If you feel your symptoms are getting worse, speak to your doctor about possible ways to ease your condition.
Herbs such as maca, black cohosh, lemon balm, St John’s Wort, gingko biloba and dong quai can help manage PMS symptoms. Prepare a herbal tea and sip at least three times daily to see a noticeable improvement.