When your period is near, you may notice some changes to your body and mood. You may find that you’re more sensitive to everything around you, without a clear reason for the sudden change. You might feel like you’re unbearable, or that your emotions seem to go up and down like a roller coaster. Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, or PMS, is something normal and manageable that happens to many women before they menstruate.
PMS is linked to a fluctuation in the female hormones (estrogen and progesterone). Its physical and psychological symptoms can include inflammation (swelling), breast tenderness, fatigue, food cravings (especially chocolate!), sadness, anxiety, irritability, depression, trouble concentrating, mood swings... Sound familiar? The main thing is not to let PMS have a negative effect on your life. There are a number of things you can do, including minor adjustments to your lifestyle, to feel better and get through these days with a positive attitude. Remember that it’s nothing that can’t be remedied and that it’s a normal condition that affects many women.
What can you do to relieve the symptoms of PMS?
- Begin by making changes to your diet. Eat more frequently, but in smaller portions. Don’t overdo the salt as it makes you retain fluids. And, when you have a chocolate craving don’t go overboard, try to replace most of it with healthy carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables or whole grains.
- It is also a good idea to eat foods high in calcium, like dairy products (always choosing the nonfat or low-fat versions).
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, and get some exercise. Nothing will relax you more than a good aerobic workout! Afterwards, you’ll fall into bed to do something your body really needs in the days before your period arrives: sleep.
- It’s also a good idea to incorporate relaxation routines, such as meditation, yoga or massage, to reduce stress and maintain an upbeat attitude – within reason. Relaxing will also make you feel comforted.
As your period approaches and you notice changes in your behavior, pay attention. This will help you stay on guard and take the necessary steps to minimize the effects of PMS on your body and psyche. If you find that the physical and/or psychological effects are severe enough that they’re preventing you from leading a normal life, then it’s best to see your healthcare professional.
PMS is a natural part of being a woman, so don’t let it get the better of you! Whenever you feel any symptoms that interfere with your daily life, take a deep breath, and make peace with your hormones. After all, they are also responsible for the miracle of womanhood – the miracle of you.
PMS makes me cry. My English teacher knows when I'm about to start before I do. Is that bad?" - Anonymous
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