What is PMS?


Dealing with PMS

Do you experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or feel a ‘change in your hormones’ just before your monthly cycle? Do you cry, snap and feel so much like a walking, talking mess just before the onset of your period? Are you worried that something is wrong with you because everyone around you seems to have their game on – even when they are bleeding? Well, you’re not alone. One in five women experiences PMS and more than three-quarters of women report that the premenstrual phase makes them feel irritable.

What is PMS?

PMS is the collection of physical and emotional symptoms resulting from hormonal changes in your body during the few days before your period. While the exact cause behind PMS is unclear, it is believed that hormonal changes during this time increase your level of certain chemicals associated with mood swings.

PMS is not a disease; it mostly occurs in healthy women between the ages of 30 to 50 years. However, even younger women and men can experience PMS.

Symptoms of PMS

The hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle can affect your body in several ways and result in different symptoms every time you get your period. There are many premenstrual syndromes — not all women with a menstrual cycle will experience all these symptoms. Some only have one or two symptoms, while others may have almost all of them at once.


You may experience headaches as your body prepares for your period to end. As a result of the premenstrual fluid buildup, your cranium is added stress that has to be pushed out by the brain. If you've suffered from headaches before, then chances are that you'll see them again at this time of the month. Therefore, don't ignore these symptoms! Instead, take measures to help yourself get relief and get rid of these annoying headaches as fast as possible.

Irritability and Mood Swings

Irritability and mood swings are some of the most common symptoms of PMS. These can occur at any time during the menstrual cycle. However, they are more likely to happen when you're menstruating. If you notice yourself getting easily irritated and snapping at others more often than usual, you may be experiencing PMS. Mood swings can sometimes be so severe they disrupt everyday life, leading to mood swings and anxiety. Mood swings can also make maintaining positive relationships with colleagues and friends harder. Mood swings are sometimes related to fluctuating hormone levels, especially estrogen. Estrogen is sometimes prescribed to help smooth out the intensity of these fluctuations.

Food Cravings

Many women experience cravings for certain types of food during their menstrual cycle. It is thought that the hormonal changes that take place during your menstrual cycle may cause cravings for certain types of food. If these cravings are strong enough, they can become addictions, and it can be difficult to resist them. Cravings are often for unhealthy foods like chocolate, ice cream or chips. If you crave unhealthy foods, try to replace them with healthy alternatives.

Constipation and Bloating

Many women experience constipation when they have PMS. Estrogen levels typically drop during menstruation, and this can cause the digestive system to slow down. The drop in estrogen levels can also stimulate the liver, increasing the production of a protein called albumin that can cause bloating. Drinking lots of water and eating plenty of fiber during your period can help combat constipation and bloating.

Breast Tenderness and Swelling

After your period, you may experience soreness when touching, squeezing or rubbing your breasts. As you cycle through your period, it’s common to feel varying degrees of breast pain before and during menstruation. During these times, the tenderness will typically subside within a few days after the flow begins. Breasts can also be tender and sore before menstruation — specifically in the two-and-a-half-week waiting period before menstruation. There are PMS breast supplements available to help ease the pain and tenderness during these times.

Sleep Issues

Many women experience sleep issues during the first few days of their periods. This is especially common in women who experience heavy bleeding. Many women find falling asleep during their periods difficult because of the blood flow, cramps, fatigue and other PMS symptoms.

Depression and Anxiety

Some women experience a significant drop in mood and feelings of sadness and anxiety during their periods. This is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and is more common in women with a family history of mood disorders. Women with PMDD experience a wide range of symptoms, including feeling depressed, anxious, irritable and moody.

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