A complete guide to understanding PMS

"They might as well call it feeling like Poop For About A Quarter Of The Month And Therefore A Quarter Of Your Life Syndrome!"

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the one to wo weeks before a woman’s period. Symptoms include: acne, tender breasts, bloating, mood swings, food cravings, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, constipation, trouble sleeping, insatiable hunger or a decreased appetite, food cravings, anxiety sadness, anger irritability, and depression It’s estimated that 3 of every 4 menstruating women have experienced some form of premenstrual syndrome – but many women get at least one of them.

PMS can last well into and in some cases even beyond menstruation. They might as well call it feeling like Poop For About A Quarter Of The Month And Therefore A Quarter Of Your Life Syndrome!

Here are the PMS facts you may not know:

Not all women get PMS symptoms, and for those who do, there is a really big range of effects. For some women, the mood aspects of PMS are so intense that there’s actually a clinical diagnosis for it a. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Women with PMDD or PMS may take antidepressants in the two weeks leading up to their period, or daily.

Even we can be caught off-guard by how severe our symptoms are sometimes. Symptoms can vary from cycle to cycle – and are different for different women. Occasionally i’ll wonder why something made me tear up, or why I simply cannot decide what to wear, and I’ll look at the calendar and go, “Oh, I’m about to get my period. Right.”

Cramps. Hurt. So. Much. (There’s a clinical term for them: dysmenorrhea). Some women don’t have cramps at all, while others it can feel as painful as a passing a kidney stone (for the men out there to get an idea of what we endure). It often feels like cramping, shooting, stabbing, dull and pressure-like. Think about having a bad stomach-ache all day for several days, with occasional bursts that feel like you just got rammed in the gut by an invisible Billy goat. It’s kind of like that.

For some women, period pain is so intense that it’s actually debilitating. Cramps can radiate into the back and cause back pain, too. We’re sorry for the thing we said when we were cramping, such as “oh, man, my cramps are killing me,” in mixed company. The instant you do, your male coworkers are likely to cringe and squirm, and possibly offer the helpful rejoinder of, “I do not need to hear about your ‘lady stuff.'”

True and False of PMS:

1.PMS occurs when woman are on their period – FALSE

  • Symptoms of PMDD can emerge 1-2 weeks preceding menses and typically resolve with the onset of menses. This mood disturbance results in marked social or occupational impairment, with its most prominent effects in interpersonal functioning.
  • Symptoms can vary from cycle to cycle – different for different women

2. PMS only means that a woman experiences cramping – FALSE

  • Women can experience anxiety, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, increased depressed mood, irritability, and mood swings

3. All women experience PMS – FALSE

  • Not all women get PMS symptoms, and for those who do, there is a really big range of effects
  • PMS is common, affecting from 30-80% of women of reproductive age

4. PMS symptoms can be so severe that medical attention is needed – TRUE

  • 20 percent of women suffer it badly enough to find medical attention
  • Depressive suffers and those with familial histories of depression are more likely to have it
  • Some woman may take antidepressants 2 weeks before their period

5. PMS is as bad as it can get – FALSE

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – PMDD is usually a chronic condition and can have a serious impact on a woman’s quality of life
  • PMDD affects 3-8% of women in their reproductive years, with symptoms usually emerging during a woman’s twenties.2

6. You can manage your PMS symptoms – TRUE

  • You can manage you PMS and PMDD symptoms with – Vitamin and mineral supplements, birth control (this can make it better or worse for some people), conservative treatments, exercise, and relaxation therapy

7. PMS and PMDD can be genetically inherited – TRUE

  • The major risk factors for PMS and PMDD include personal history of a mood or anxiety disorder, family history of premenstrual mood dysregulation, stress and age in the late 20’s to mid-30’s

8. PMS symptoms are similar to early pregnancy symptoms – TRUE

  • PMS symptoms – constipation, breast pain and tenderness, fatigue, nausea, bleeding or spotting, headaches and back pain, changes in appetite
  • Symptoms unique to pregnancy – a missed period and nipple changes i. Nipple changes – the areola, the colored area around the nipple, gets darker or larger, this can suggest pregnancy. This can occur 1 to 2 weeks after conception

9. PMS makes you crazy – FALSE

  • This is such a tired, old cliche, but menstruating people hear it all the time: “your period is making you crazy!” No, the impending loss of your uterine lining does not send all of your sanity away with it. Rather, your brain is going through a hormonal shift which you can use to your advantage.
    • i. Estrogen and progesterone levels drop before a menstrual cycle, which affects the brain. Serotonin – the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood – also drops during this time. These hormone drops before your period make you want to clean house in every sense of the meaning.
    • ii.

10. Mood swings are limited to women who menstruate – FALSE

  • Men and non-menstruating people have mood swings too – because everyone has mood swings. A study has shown that mood swings in men and women were the same over several months. Men and women are the same more than they are different, so don’t let anyone use your period as a reason to dismiss your moods. (No one is doing that to the guys at the office, are they?)

11. Having sex during period can alleviate cramps, but you can still get pregnant – TRUE

  • Just like you can get pregnant while you’re breastfeeding, you can also get pregnant during your period. Sperm can hang out in your body for five days postcoitus, so depending on when you ovulate, you could definitely have a bun in the oven. Play it safe and use protection if you decide to have period sex.
  • If your cycle is shorter, for example, every 21 to 24 days, this means you are ovulating earlier in the cycle. Sperm can live inside you for 2, 3 and up to 5 days. You could have sex towards the end of your bleeding and then actually conceive 4 or 5 days later with your early ovulation.

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