Dealing with PMS: Your how to guide

Dealing with PMS: Your how to guide

4th February 2022

PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name for the symptoms that a person who bleeds can experience in the weeks before their period (RESET PHASE). 

PMS can be a combination of physical and emotional symptoms, and each person will experience some or none of the common symptoms in different ways. For example, PMS may happen more often to those who experience high-stress levels, have a history of depression, and have a personal history of either postpartum depression or depression.

The most common symptom of PMS can include cramping, breakouts, tender breasts, fatigue, bowel issues, headaches, bloating, mood swings, less interest in sex, trouble sleeping and back pain. 

Whilst research hasn't led to discovering the cause of why those who bleed experience PMS, it most certainly is a real thing. However, experts do have a few theories which may explain why. 

The first is the apparent change and fluctuation in hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone levels change throughout your cycle, and during your Soar phase, week after your period, these can drop rapidly, leading to mood changes. 

The second is chemical changes in the brain. For example, serotonin and norepinephrine are essential factors in how the body functions and help to regulate mood, emotions and behaviour. So a drop in estrogen will, in turn, release norepinephrine, leading to declining production of our good friend serotonin.

Lastly, certain lifestyle choices can impact the severity of PMS. For example, smoking, poor diet, consuming high levels of alcohol and lack of physical activity can make you more susceptible to PMS symptoms being more severe. 

What can you do to help relieve some PMS symptoms at home?

  • Exercise regularly - Exercise can help with depression, mobility, and fatigue symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet - Avoiding foods and drinks with caffeine, salt, and sugar in the two weeks before your period may lessen many PMS symptoms.
  • Getting enough sleep - 7-8 hours is the recommended amount. 
  • Find healthy ways to cope with stress - Exercise, reading, baths, therapy, yoga. Find your calm and what works for you!

If any of your PMS symptoms bother you or affect your life, it is essential to talk to your doctor. Like your period, these symptoms should be an inconvenience at the most. 

Less than 5% of those who bleed suffer from a severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This can cause severe depression and anxiety during the week or two before the period starts. Symptoms usually go away two or three days after the period begins; however, you may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms.