What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?What causes PMS?How do you know it's PMSCoping with PMS
PMS stands for ‘Premenstrual Syndrome’ - it’s the combination of symptoms that some girls suffer from a week or so before their period. Symptoms peak just before you come on your period but disappear during your period. Affecting both body and brain, their intensity can also vary wildly from person to person. The PMS symptoms normally include:
• Cramps • Breast tenderness • Headaches • Backaches• Bloating• Mood swings• Mild depression• Changes in hair and skin
Hormones.Your hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle hit highs and lows. This affects your brain and the signals it transmits to the body which can cause or contribute to premenstrual syndrome.Brain chemistry.Some experts claim that lack of a brain chemical, serotonin, results in PMS, and in extreme cases, depression.
Thyroid problems.If your thyroid gland malfunctions, you’ll experience PMS-style symptoms – so make sure your doctor establishes exactly where the problem lies.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.Vitamins B6 and D and minerals like calcium and magnesium are thought to reduce symptoms of PMS – a daily vitamin supplement is a bright idea if you suffer badly.
Boys may scoff at menstrual stroppiness but premenstrual syndrome is a real condition caused by chemical imbalances – so it deserves a little more of their sympathy! But be warned – don’t become one of those girls who uses PMS as the ‘multi-purpose excuse’ whenever they feel like it. Use the PMS excuse all the time and sympathy will soon be in short supply.
To work out when you’re really suffering from PMS, it makes sense to keep a journal or calendar record of your symptoms and rate their severity in addition to a period journal. If you feel rotten for only the 3-10 days before your period and recover as soon as you come on it’s likely you’re suffering from PMS. If you experience symptoms for any longer perhaps puberty is just giving you a rough time. Double-check with your doctor that nothing else is amiss and then do your best to struggle through.
Some girls hardly suffer premenstrual syndrome but if you’re not so lucky read on for advice on relieving the symptoms of PMS.
Diet: Try to eat a balanced diet. Good tips are to avoid caffeine and alcohol and make sure you get enough whole grains, fruit and vegetables.Exercise: Don’t skip sport – it’ll lift your mood and make you sleep like a baby. Light stretching is also known for helping period pains and menstrual cramps.
Sleep: Try to get 8 hours of shut-eye a night.Stress: Sometimes highly stressful situations may trigger PMS like symptoms. Steer clear of high-stress situations and be sure to schedule plenty of time for R&R. Take a bath, take up yoga or put on your best tunes to unwind. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to ask for help – your doctor, nurse or school councillor will know the best way to beat those PMS blues.