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What’s the Big Deal About Premenstrual Syndrome?

Mood swings, Breast Pain or Tenderness, Breakouts, Bloating, Constipation and or diarrhoea. These are just some of the symptoms ( read horrors ) women face in the name of reproduction. They are collectively referred to as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), and to some may be a mere inconvenience but to others, debilitating.


Some quick facts to note about  PMS

  • First of all, all women are not the same, some women experience PMS while some don’t. About 47% of Nigerian women aged 30-45 experience PMS.
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a group of both physical and emotional symptoms.
  • It is thought to be related to the hormonal changes that occur in a female’s menstrual cycle.
  •  Lifestyle changes and sometimes medicines are used to treat PMS.

So What Really is Premenstrual Syndrome?

PMS is a group of symptoms that occur before the monthly period starts and eases off as the period starts. Some women experience PMS every month, while some women experience PMS in some months and don’t experience it in other months. PMS is called a syndrome because it is a group of symptoms associated with a specific cause. The symptoms are a combination of physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can vary from mild to severe in some women. The symptoms include:

  • Mood swings
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Food cravings
  • Headache
  • Development of acne
  • Bloating
  • Increased appetite/excess hunger
  • Depression Tension or anxiety
  • Joint pains
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Trouble falling asleep

How Soon Before A Period Starts Do Women Experience Premenstrual Syndrome?

The symptoms of PMS can occur up to two weeks before a period is due and generally ease off as the period begins. The symptoms usually disappear by the first day of the period or after the day when the flow is heaviest.

Causes of PMS

The major causes of premenstrual syndrome could be:

  •  a fluctuation in the level of the hormone Progesterone and
  • changes in the brain chemical, Serotonin

When the level of progesterone is high, this can cause some of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and mood swings can happen because of fluctuation in progesterone levels.

A brain chemical (neurotransmitter) called serotonin is believed to play a crucial role in mood regulation. A fluctuation in this hormone usually happens before the start of the menstrual cycle. This fluctuation could trigger Premenstrual syndrome symptoms. A decline in the level of serotonin may contribute to symptoms such as premenstrual depression, fatigue, sleep problems, and food cravings.

How is Premenstrual Syndrome diagnosed?

Because premenstrual symptoms are associated with the menstrual cycle, your healthcare provider may ask that you keep a record of your symptoms for up to 6 months. These symptoms are then assessed to know the exact timing, duration, and severity of symptoms. Do you think you have a history of struggling with PMS? You can consult a doctor on Whispa and begin your journey to proper diagnosis and treatment.

Healthy Habits That Can Help Relieve PMS

1.       Get enough sleep: There is a reason that I have this as the first point. In our extremely fast-paced lives, a lot of people live on very little sleep. This is especially common for women who typically juggle work, family, cooking etc. Enough sleep can vary from person to person. You should ensure that you are paying attention to the signs that you are getting “the right amount of sleep that your body needs”. Please consider fixing your sleep issues to improve your well-being as a woman, feeling well all through your menstrual cycle is key to improving your quality of life.

2.      Eat a well-balanced diet: This, in particular, can be difficult, I know! As females, we need to keep in mind that the things we eat have a direct impact on our hormones and menstrual cycle. Your diet should consist of plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. There are so many affordable fruits available in Nigeria, so do try to incorporate fruits that are in season into your daily diet

3.      Get regular exercise: You should exercise 3-5 times a week for at least 30 minutes each day. A simple 30 minute walk can be your daily exercise. Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can make your hormones fluctuate and cause a hormonal imbalance leading to PMS Symptoms.

4.      Don’t smoke: Smoking is not good for you Sis!  You should always remember that smoking can not only harden your arteries but it can also mess up your hormones. All the PMS issues we go through as females are tough enough, you shouldn’t complicate things by deliberately introducing harmful toxins into your body. Quite plainly, smoking is unhealthy for you !

5. Use the right Medication: One rarely talked about solution for PMS is to stop it at the source-i.e. the periods or more specifically by using contraceptives that stop ovulation. 

So, why not chat with a doctor on Whispa today to figure out the best solution for you if you experience PMS symptoms.

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