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    Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms and How to Relieve Them

    Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms and How to Relieve Them
    Updated 23 April 2020 |
    Published 28 August 2018
    Fact Checked
    Kate Shkodzik, MD
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Signs of PMS can hit you unexpectedly and quite heavily. Learn about your body’s mechanisms and premenstrual syndrome treatment with Flo!

    When does PMS start?

    You can have premenstrual symptoms at any age, but they most frequently begin in your mid-20s.

    Once it occurs, the symptoms before period can vary from cycle to cycle. They can become worse between age 35 and 40 as you approach menopause.

    flo period tracker

    Naturally, PMS goes away when you stop having your menstrual periods, i.e., if you get pregnant or reach menopause.

    Premenstrual syndrome mood swings: is anything wrong?

    Feeling angry for no reason? Everything irritates you? Do you feel like crying? You’re not alone; 3 out of every 4 women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

    Fluctuations in hormone levels may be the primary reason for such mood swings.

    There are great ways to boost your overall happiness-hormone level: exercise, eat your favorite food, or go shopping!

    Scientific evidence promotes the theory that the menstrual cycle influences the psychological health of women.

    75% of women of reproductive age report having mood swings and physical discomfort during the premenstrual phase of their cycle.

    Remedies to help ease mood swings and pain include getting plenty of sleep, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or massage. All of these have a soothing effect on the mind and body.

    Use Flo to log changes in your mood that help you understand your body’s signals. It will show you patterns and provide you with valuable tips for dealing with the signs of PMS.

    PMS discomfort

    PMS headache: what can you do to ease the pain?

    Premenstrual headaches can be a very frequent guest during a woman’s cycle.

    Estrogen levels drop just before the start of your period, so those headaches are common and can be severe.

    If you suffer from headaches in this phase of the menstrual cycle, log your symptoms before period in Flo and get tailored tips to ease your symptoms.

    What can you do now? Try to follow common medical advice: apply a compress, take an anti-inflammatory painkiller, or take a nap.

    PMS can affect your sleep

    The menstrual cycle is largely dependent on fluctuations in hormone levels in women, and it significantly affects areas seemingly unrelated to our cycles such as sleep.

    PMS-related increases or decreases in progesterone and estrogen may interfere with your sleep patterns.

    Elevated body temperature caused by the release of the luteinizing hormone (LH) prior to ovulation may also have an adverse effect on getting proper rest.

    Understanding the problem is part of its solution. To improve your sleep:

    1. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
    2. Avoid both late meals and feeling too hungry before going to bed
    3. Keep out unwanted noise and light and set a comfortable temperature in the bedroom.

    Hope these lifestyle changes will help you with this particular group of symptoms before period.

    PMS and Breast Pain

    Breast pain before period

    Breast pain associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) usually entails soreness, throbbing, aching, heaviness, and sometimes even shooting pain.

    It can become unpleasant to touch them or even wear a bra; the swelling may even make you go up a bra size. Both breasts are usually sore, but not always. One breast may hurt more than the other.

    A few tips on how to reduce pain before period:

    • Wear a well-fitting bra. Maybe try to wear one size larger than usual during PMS or try to wear an elastic, soft sports bra during sleep.
    • Try to reduce caffeine consumption, and drink more water.
    • Avoid stress, and find ways to relax.

    Unusual hunger during PMS

    Premenstrual syndrome can really mess with your diet. Hormone levels — primarily estrogen, cortisol, and serotonin — can spike and fall during your menstrual cycle.

    You may notice an increased appetite as well as a metabolic surge. You may crave more carbs and fat like chocolate, chips, donuts, muffins, and candies.

    Food cravings during PMS vary from woman to woman due to fluctuations of various hormones in her body.

    Many women experience a dip in serotonin levels during PMS, which causes them to crave carbs like bread and sweets.

    If serotonin levels are normal but cortisol spikes, you will likely crave a combination of fat and carbs without a lot of sweetness like a bagel covered in cream cheese.

    So, how do you deal with your junk food cravings during premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

    Eating complex carbs, such as whole-grain breads, pasta, cereals, etc., can help prevent weight gain and combat PMS cravings.

    Complex carbs are a great option for when you start to feel hungry.

    Even though they may seem caloric, they take a long time to digest which keeps you from reaching for processed or quick carbs that turn directly into fat.

    Log any increase in appetite and other symptoms before period in Flo to receive more valuable information. Look for correlations between your appetite, diet, and menstrual cycle.

    PMS food

    Men can have PMS symptoms, too!

    Contrary to popular belief, women are not the only ones to suffer from “PMS” symptoms!

    Bursts of anger, strange or unusually negative attitudes, and decreased sex drive could be related to a lack of adequate levels of testosterone in men.

    Unresolved stress has been shown to be a source of this waning hormone level. Scientists have named this Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS), proving that hormones factor in both male and female behavior.

    Premenstrual syndrome treatment: what should you give up?

    Around 75% of women struggle with premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which is related to changes in hormone levels prior to the arrival of your period.

    However, hormonal variation is not the only factor that contributes to these symptoms.

    PMS is also often associated with changes in brain chemicals, and symptoms can sometimes be exacerbated by an unhealthy diet and certain nutrient deficits.

    Consuming caffeinated beverages like coffee, black tea, fizzy and energy drinks can also aggravate your PMS.

    We recommend that you avoid salty foods (chips, canned food, crackers, beer, snacks, sauces, etc.) as they can worsen your symptoms as well.

    For some women, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a real disaster, especially if they experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which has more severe symptoms.

    Don’t be embarrassed and don't suffer in silence! Pain is a body signal that something is wrong; it’s not a challenge which you must bravely endure.

    Our aim is to provide you with essential advice, so log all your symptoms in Flo. If the situation really affects your life, please see your doctor.

    History of updates
    Current version (23 April 2020)
    Reviewed by Kate Shkodzik, MD, Obstetrician and gynecologist
    28 August 2018
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