What is PMS?
PMS is ‘premenstrual symptoms or premenstrual syndrome’ is a group of varied symptoms experienced by many women 1-2 weeks prior to their cycle and normally subsides at the start of the period. These symptoms include acne, tender breasts, mood swings, bloating, tiredness and irritability. Some women experience more severe symptoms and some less differing from women to women.
Why did I choose to write about it?
Because PMS can be extremely distressing and if I can help anyone of you with any kind of information here then why not?
Also, PMS is more serious entity than normal mood swings. Mood swing is one of the many components of PMS. It’s important that people understood it’s more than just PMSing.
Is there a difference between PMS in PCOS and in the normal cycle?
From an outside perspective, no but clinically, many women with PCOS experience extreme symptoms of PMS. Main reason behind is the hormonal imbalance and then it also depends on the severity of disease per say. A research conducted by Catholic University Medical School, Rome, Italy on the production of Prostaglandin (PG) by normal and polycystic ovaries suggested an increase in the release of PG by polycystic ovaries. Increase production of Prostaglandin (a biological compound) is associated with increased state of inflammation and pain which also explains the severity of symptoms in PCOS.
Common symptoms and what can you do about it?
Many women struggle with acne throughout in their journey of PCOS and it might become more severe at the time of PMS. Besides seeking professional help, there are things you can do at your end :-
- Hydration – Keeping yourself hydrated is not only important during PMS but in general. One of the simplest secret to clear skin is adequate water intake. If you do not have a habit of keeping a count try to remind yourself consciously to drink at the least 4-5 L of water daily. Carry your own water bottle to work for days when you are busy.
- Green smoothie – is rich in antioxidants and helps in detoxification. Make it a habit of drinking one green smoothie daily. If not, at least during PMS. It’s very simple to make and I wrote about it in this post. Green smoothie has been very beneficial to me personally in controlling all the breakouts.
- Reduce chemical/sunlight exposure – This again is generally recommended but when you are breaking out during PMS, do not indulge in putting a lot of chemical products on your skin. If you have severe acne, I would highly recommend visiting your dermatologist for treatment and use only what is prescribed by them. You also don’t want to be exposing yourself too much to sun as UV rays can just add on to the problem. Even with sunscreen try other protective measures. The better the SPF, the better is the protection. Dermatologists usually recommend SPF 50 sunscreen.
- Eat clean – Food per say does not affect the severity of the acne but to manage PMS as a whole, try to eat clean preferably home cooked meals and plant based food. You don’t wanna be eating too spicy or sour because that again can add on to the inflammatory response.
Mastalgia (tender breast)
One of the most troublesome symptoms of PMS is cyclical mastalgia or having tender breast. Sometimes the pain is so severe that it can interfere with your day to day activities. More common among women who take ‘progesterone’ for withdrawal bleeding. Research suggest the imbalance in the ratio of estrogen and progesterone may be the culprit for cyclical mastalgia. Things you can do are :-
- Avoid caffeine as it may worsen the pain.
- Vitamin E supplementation.
- Primrose oil application or supplementation. You can use it for massage, as an essential oil mixed with castor oil, in your bath or in form of capsules.
- Low-fat diet.
- Hot shower.
- Ice compressors.
Again a fairly common symptom associated with PMS is mood swings. It can range from irritation to agitation to depressed or low mood. Things you can do are as following :
- Aerobic exercise – exercising releases endorphins which reacts to the receptors in our brain and can actually reduce the sensation of pain. Exercise also causes dopamine and serotonin release that helps you feel better emotionally and improve the quality of your sleep. Do not go overboard on exercising, just a few basic aerobic exercises liking running, brisk walking, skipping etc.
- Yoga – preferably a restorative sequence which is not too much of a work. You will instead pamper your body and with better pain management, mood swings will automatically improve. One of my favorite sequences is this.
- Meditation is an excellent way to get your mood swings under control.
- Ultimately if you are experiencing extreme mood changes, it is the must that you see a physician. According to a Mayo Clinic study “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt your work and damage your relationships. About 30 percent of menstruating women have PMS. Up to 8 percent of women with PMS have symptoms that meet the diagnostic criteria for PMDD.”
The best way to deal with tiredness is:-
- Keeping up with your nutrition. The quality of food matters too.
- Take supplements – Vitamin B, C and E are best to manage PMS.
- Sleep adequately.
Ultimately, like I always say, you will have to try everything and find what works for you because no one knows your body better than you do and the things you are comfortable with.
I am not going to use the statement – It’s all in the mind because it’s not,the physical pain,the emotional and psychological burden are all very real but I sure would love to add that “it does depend on us to let it or let it not take over our life!”
On a lighter note, this GIF from friends always cracks me up!!
Hope you guys have a great week ahead! Thanks for reading.
The images used in this post are not my own, no copyright infringment intended!