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Let’s learn and debunk the myths on PMS!
29 Dec 2021
Let’s learn and debunk the myths on PMS! image

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of physical and emotional symptoms experienced by many women a week or two before their period. PMS is thought to occur in the days following ovulation when estrogen and progesterone levels drop considerably. PMS symptoms fade away a few days after a woman’s period begins when her hormone levels begin to rise again. 

How do you know if you have PMS?

Some women get their periods with or without just minor symptoms of PMS.  Others may experience PMS symptoms that make it difficult to do daily tasks such as going to work or to school. 

PMS symptoms differ from one person to the next. Bloating or gassiness,  enlarged or painful breasts, constipation or diarrhea, cramps, headache, and backache are some of the physical symptoms whereas emotional symptoms include irritability, exhaustion, sleep issues, hunger changes, memory, or concentration problems, anxiety, melancholy, mood swings, and diminished libido. These signs and symptoms may alter over time. 

What are the worst symptoms of PMS?

  1. Occur for at least three menstrual cycles in a row in the five days before  your period 
  2. End within four days after your period begins 
  3. Prevent you from enjoying or completing some of your daily activities The symptoms of PMS include: 
  • abdominal bloating 
  • abdominal pain 
  • sore breasts 
  • acne 
  • food cravings, especially for sweets 
  • constipation 
  • diarrhoea 
  • headaches 
  • sensitivity to light or sound
  • fatigue 
  • irritability 
  • changes in sleep patterns 
  • anxiety 
  • depression 
  • sadness 
  • emotional outbursts 

For a few months, keep track of the PMS symptoms you have and how severe they are. Each day, record your symptoms on a calendar or in an app on your phone. Bring this information with you to your doctor’s appointment. 

Are PMS and PMDD the same?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a significant health condition that is related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In a week or two before your period.  PMDD produces significant irritation, depression, or anxiety. Symptoms often subside two to three days after your menstruation begins. To alleviate your symptoms, you may require medication. 

When to see a doctor for PMS?

If physical pain, mood changes, or other symptoms start to interfere with your everyday life, or if they don’t go away, it’s a sign to consult a doctor. 

Even if your symptoms are minor or severe, you may be able to alleviate them by altering your lifestyle or food. And if your PMS symptoms start to affect your daily life,  you may want to seek medical help. Treatment will be determined by the severity of your symptoms. Your gynecologist may prescribe medicine in more severe instances. 

How can we soothe the symptoms?

If you have a mild or moderate form of premenstrual syndrome, the treatment  options include: 

  • drinking plenty of fluids to ease abdominal bloating 
  • eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and reducing your intake of sugar,  salt, caffeine, and alcohol 
  • sleeping at least eight hours at night to reduce fatigue 
  • exercising to decrease bloating and improve your mental health
  • reducing stress, such as through exercising and reading 
  • going to cognitive behavioural therapy which is effective for some women. 
  • Relaxation therapy may include breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga.  Massage therapy is another form of relaxation therapy that you may want to try. Some women find therapies like biofeedback and self-hypnosis to be helpful. 

Let’s debunk the myths! 

We don’t have to believe these outdated myths about menstrual cycles, no matter whether you get PMS symptoms or not. While it’s nice to have treatment options  for discomfort, depression, or premenstrual pain, it’s equally critical not to  disregard your physical or mental health concerns as ‘simply PMS.’ 

Myth 1- Premenstrual experience and good mood never go hand in hand.

PMS is not a one-size-fits-all experience. 

Despite what culture, society, and the media portray, science supports that the premenstrual experience is not intrinsically bad for everyone. It’s more common to talk about negative premenstrual experiences in cultural and social contexts,  but this narrows the true experience of the premenstrual phase, which includes positive aspects such as increased perception of surroundings, increased sensitivity to the needs of those around you, increased creativity, increased spiritual feelings, more flexibility, and motivation. 

Myth 2- Ah, All the stress is just the PMS talking! 

When you’re stressed out with PMS, the last thing you want to think about is that your sentiments are unreasonable and invalid just because they happen to coincide with your period. Don’t reject any thoughts or ideas you get during this  period as “the PMS talking.” That just isn’t always the case. 

Myth 3- PMS is the norm. You just got to learn to deal with it somehow.

Although PMS is rather common these days, it does not have to be the norm for you. By figuring out what’s going on with your hormones and getting them back into balance, you can make PMS a thing of the past. PMS may appear to be something we have to deal with every month, but if it is interfering with your daily life, you should consult your doctor about treatment options. Don’t be scared to speak with a medical expert about your symptoms so that you can get back to feeling your best.

Myth 4- Bad moods are just the result of hormones in the premenstrual phase

Hormones play an important role in a woman’s menstrual cycle, but they aren’t the main cause of premenstrual bad moods. The impact of overall mental and physical health on mood is larger than the menstrual cycle phase. As predictors of daily mood, social support, physical health, and perceived stress were more significant. 

Myth 5- Don’t exercise during the premenstrual phase 

The truth is that if it helps you feel better, you should exercise. Some PMS  symptoms, such as abdominal cramps and headaches, may be relieved by exercises, particularly light physical activity like walking or yoga. 

Myth 6- All Women have PMS in varying degrees.

In reality, simply because a woman has premenstrual symptoms does not indicate she has PMS. 

Premenstrual syndrome is a medical diagnosis that encompasses a wide range of symptoms, including both emotional and physical discomforts. Consult a gynecologist if you have any symptoms and to know more.

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