PMS refers to premenstrual syndrome, or those dreaded days leading up to your period. The dramatic change in hormones is responsible for the numerous unwanted symptoms many women face during this time frame each month. For some women, PMS is more uncomfortable and disruptive than their actual period. While you may joke about feeling bloated during PMS or even blame an argument on your short-tempered PMS mood, it is important to know when your PMS needs attention and when you can simply make some lifestyle adjustments to help you through the premenstrual phase every month.
Nearly all women experience PMS in some form or fashion. Your symptoms may be mild or intense and could involve just a few symptoms or the whole list of common side effects. PMS is triggered by a cyclical hormonal change as well as possible chemical alterations in the brain. Unfortunately, PMS can produce both physical and emotional symptoms, including the following:
- Mood swings
- Appetite changes and cravings
- Muscle/joint pain
- Breast tenderness
- Digestive issues
It is important to evaluate your PMS symptoms and determine whether they are impacting your quality of life, causing you to miss work or jeopardizing your relationships. Cases of very severe PMS are often termed PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Some women find relief with a few simple lifestyle changes, such as exercising regularly, eating more calcium, avoiding caffeine, getting more sleep or yoga/massage.
However, there are times in which your PMS may need more intervention than what you can manage on your own. The good news is that your gynecologist can help. There are medications that can relieve PMS symptoms, including antidepressants for mood swings, anti-inflammatory for muscle and joint pain and diuretics for bloating. A birth control pill may also be recommended, as severe PMS can be helped by balancing your hormones with a hormone contraceptive.
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we routine help women overcome disruptive PMS symptoms. Never be too shy to talk about the severity of your symptoms, as many of them can be relieved with medical treatment or lifestyle improvements.