Cramps, bloating, digestive upset, mood swings – if you’ve ever experienced these telltale symptoms around your period, then you’ve suffered from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMS is not fun to experience, but understanding where it comes from and how to manage it will make your next period a lot less painful.
What is PMS?
PMS is a common condition that can take effect 5-11 days before menstruation begins. Some common symptoms of PMS include:
- Abdominal pain and/or bloating
- Sore breasts
- Constipation and/or diarrhea
- Changes in sleep patterns
What causes it?
Although the exact causes of PMS are largely unknown, there are a couple of factors that are known to contribute to its occurrence. Sex hormones and serotonin levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, which leads to symptoms like irritability, mood swings, and anxiety. Right before menstruation begins, a hormone called prostaglandin stimulates muscle contractions in the uterus, intended to expel the uterine lining. These uterine muscle contractions can often cause pain and inflammation, leading to symptoms like cramping and bloating.
How to manage PMS symptoms?
There isn’t a cure for PMS, but there are several steps that can be taken to ease the severity of the symptoms.
- Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Reduce your intake of salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine
- Stay hydrated with plenty of fluids to relieve abdominal bloating Lifestyle
- Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night
- Exercise regularly to aid your mental health
- Reduce your stress where possible, and engage in mindful activities like reading or meditation
- Increase your dietary iron or consider introducing an iron supplement into your daily routine, which can decrease symptoms of PMS due to its ability to raise serotonin levels
- Use an herbal blend like Cramp Relief, formulated with ginger, sweet fennel, skullcap, magnesium and vitamin B6 as a natural way to reduce painful cramping If your PMS symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from living your day-to-day life, be
sure to contact your healthcare practitioner.
Healthline, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Healthline, What Causes Painful Menstrual Periods and How Do I Treat Them?
Mayo Clinic, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
WebMD, Iron-Rich Diet Might Ease PMS Misery