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PMS Problems: How to Conquer Cramps, Mood Swings and More

December 3, 2020
PMS Problems: How to Conquer Cramps, Mood Swings and More - 1400 × 700

Mercurial moods. Persistent sugar cravings. 2 AM trips to the toilet. Oh, the joys of PMS.Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is like a catty, careless visitor that camps in your belly and ravages misery on your mind, body and soul. And then brings Aunt Flo along, to boot.The truth is, you don’t have to resign yourself to life with PMS. If you find that the condition brings you down and consistently affects your quality of life, it’s worth seeking a doctor’s opinion on whether there’s more to your misery than you think. Sometimes, just sometimes, the condition is rooted in deeper, underlying medical conditions.What Is PMS?PMS is a condition that usually occurs in the five to eleven days leading up to a woman’s menstrual cycle and recedes upon the onset of menstruation. It can lead to mood swings, physical weakness and emotional volatility. Although it affects over 90% of menstruating women, the condition must present lifestyle-compromising symptoms for a doctor to provide a formal diagnosis. PMS is believed to be linked to hormonal changes and fluctuations in serotonin levels. Primarily, an increase in oestrogen and progesterone triggers mood swings, anxiety and testiness. Theory, much?We hear from you. Here’s a peek at the realities and risk factors of PMS.What Are the Risk Factors For PMS?PMS is more likely to affect women with the attributes highlighted below:

  • History of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • The family history of PMS
  • The family history of depression
  • History of domestic abuse, or physical or emotional trauma
  • History of alcohol or substance abuse

What Are the Symptoms of PMS?PMS can manifest in varying degrees of severity, from slight to serious. About 80% of women experience at least one symptom of PMS during each menstrual cycle, but report being able to continue with their daily lives in spite of it. The remaining 20% suffer moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome symptoms that can sometimes be debilitating and adversely impact daily life. About 8% of these can be classified as victims of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an acute disorder that warrants medical treatment. Symptoms of PMS include:

  • Abdominal heaviness, pain or bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Outbreak of acne
  • Sugar cravings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression or a prolonged sense of sadness

Read More: Control my Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) mood swingsWhen Should I See My Doctor?The truth is, there is no right time to see your doctor. There’s no holy grail for PMS, and it’s wise to seek out medical help if you experience physical pain, mood swings or any other symptoms that persistently affect your quality of life. PMS symptoms often overlap with those of inflammatory bowel syndrome, hypothyroidism and pregnancy, so your doctor may first want to rule out other conditions before prescribing you a PMS treatment plan. A great way to assess whether you are indeed suffering from PMS (because hey, we all know it’s real), is to maintain a journal of symptoms. Track the days you experience them and correspond them with the start of your subsequent cycle. Over time, you may notice a pattern, making it easier for your doctor to attribute your symptoms to PMS.How Is PMS Treated?Unfortunately, there’s no magic cure for PMS, but there are steps you can take to minimise your symptoms. For Mild to Moderate PMS

  • If you are diagnosed with mild to moderate PMS, your doctor may advise you plenty of fluids, a balanced diet, a selection of supplements, regular exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy, stress management and at least 8 hours of sleep each night, among other measures.
  • Together, these steps can relieve bloating, improve your energy levels, reduce fatigue, minimise cramps and mood swings, and enhance your mental health.
  • You may also be prescribed pain relief medication to help alleviate headaches, abdominal cramps and muscular aches.

For Severe PMS

  • Severe PMS cases are few and far between. Some women with extreme symptoms are diagnosed with PMDD, a mental health condition characterised by depression, panic attacks, chronic anxiety, uncontrolled anger, unexplained sadness, loss of interest in daily activities, insomnia, painful cramping, binge eating and even thoughts of suicide.
  • PMDD is thought to be associated with skewed oestrogen and progesterone levels, and inordinately low serotonin reserves.
  • Treatment for PMDD may include psychiatric evaluation, and lifestyle modifications like daily exercise, a caffeine-free diet, psychological counselling, vitamin supplements and stress therapy.
  • In cases where symptoms do not improve, antidepressants may be prescribed to augment serotonin levels and regulate brain chemistry.

If you constantly find yourself in the clutches of PMS, take it upon yourself to set yourself free. With the right premenstrual syndrome treatment, you can break away from the shackles of the condition and finally learn to live life on your own terms.To Know more about: PMS mood swings

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