Understanding Your PMS Symptoms [Facts By A Gynaecologist]

Before we understand our PMS symptoms, we need to learn and accept the concept of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS).

 

What is PMS?

Pre-menstrual Syndrome or PMS is a clinically proven group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. These symptoms are prevalent in menstruating women, and is different to each and every woman in terms of duration, intensity and consistency of the symptom.

 

What Are The Symptoms?

There are three types of symptoms: Physical, Emotional & Behavioural.

Physical Symptom Behavioural & Emotional Symptom
  1. Abdominal Bloating
  2. Acne
  3. Backaches
  4. Breast tenderness
  5. Constipation
  6. Cramps
  7. Diarrhoea
  8. Fatigue
  9. Headache
  10. Joint Pain
  11. Muscle Pain
  12. Nausea
  13. Weight Gain
  1. Anxiety
  2. Appetite Changes
  3. Binge Eating
  4. Crying Spells
  5. Depression
  6. Insomnia
  7. Irritability
  8. Mood Swings
  9. Panic Attacks
  10. Poor Concentration
  11. Social Withdrawal
  12. Trouble with concentration
  13. Trouble with memory
[the list is in alphabetical order]

What Causes PMS?

There are various factors that play a role in bringing about these significant PMS symptoms.

1) Change in hormonal system

menstrual cycle, testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone
Photo credits: Women In Balance

PMS is caused primarily by the change (usually an increase) in our oestrogen (estrogen) to progesterone ratio. These hormones change throughout the menstrual cycle, including testosterone levels!

Alongside these three significant hormones – Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone, there are other hormones that also play a role in the menstrual cycle (which affects PMS symptoms). The change in level of hormones is also affected by the neurotransmitter in our brain – which brings us to our next point.

2) Change in neurotransmitter response

The hypothalamus and pituitary glands (in the endocrine system), send signals throughout the body regarding the release of progesterone and oestrogen (and the change in their ratio). When estrogen level surpasses the progesterone level, there is in an increase in cortisol – which affects the level of progesterone; leading to increased mood swings, food cravings and anxiety.

3) Change in sodium metabolism rate

During various phases in the menstrual cycle, women tend to retain water in their bodies (even if we reduce salt intake). This constant retention of water causes abdominal bloating; eventually causing – nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.

4) Change in nutritional requirement

Due to the constant blood loss from the body, women tend to lose nutrients faster and therefore might have nutritional deficiencies – Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C & Vitamin E are few of the significant nutritions.

 

When Does PMS Stop?

PMS usually stops when your monthly periods stop. The symptoms are seen especially before and during the bleeding phase in the menstrual cycle. PMS eradicates in most women when they get pregnant or go through menopause.

 

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Apekshya is an eternal panda. She loves to eat, sleep and then eat some more. In her spare time, she writes, then sleeps again. She also constantly dreams about being a superstar, and then eats (because she is not). If you understand her pain, she is open to receiving chocolates on a daily basis.

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