Most women experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms, and it is a natural part of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms vary greatly in every woman and can range from mild to severe. The following article provides in-depth information about the severe PMS symptoms and the reasons for its occurrence.
PMS is a condition wherein a woman, each month after the ovulation till her next period, experiences some physical and emotional changes in the body. The severity, onset, and duration of these symptoms varies from one woman to another depending on her health condition and lifestyle. The symptoms usually start appearing 3 to 4 days before menstruation, and eventually subside with the menstrual flow. Research shows that nearly one third of the women all over the world experience them, and in some cases, these symptoms can become chronic.
- One of the primary reasons is the hormonal changes that a woman undergoes every month. Normally, a menstrual cycle lasts for 28 to 30 days which is categorized into three stages: follicular (menstrual bleeding), ovulatory (egg release), and luteal (egg disintegration). During these stages, especially after ovulation when the released egg is not fertilized, the body undergoes a lot of fluctuations in the estrogen and progesterone levels in order to prepare itself for the next menstrual flow. These changes subsequently affect the other hormones of the body, and give rise to a lot of symptoms.
- Some chemical changes in the brain like fluctuations or imbalance in the serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that controls the mood, also contribute to common PMS symptoms like depression, fatigue, mood swings, etc.
- Stress, smoking, drinking, and poor eating habits, i.e., diet deficient in vitamins and minerals or high in sodium content can aggravate some severe symptoms.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
It is a known fact that PMS doesn’t require any treatment, and disappears within a few days of menstrual bleeding. However, there is a severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that gives rise to serious symptoms. PMDD is usually associated with the luteal phase of menstrual cycle, and can be debilitating due to some severe emotional, mental, and physical changes. Treatment is recommended, as the disorder interferes with the sufferer’s ability to perform daily activities.
- Breast tenderness and swelling
- Abdominal bloating
- Mood swings and irritability
- Muscle pain and cramps
- Menstrual headache and migraine
- Major depression
- Feeling of hopelessness and severe sadness
- Weakness and fatigue
- Sleep disturbance
- Poor concentration
- Nausea and dizziness
- Weight gain from fluid retention
- Abdominal pain and pelvic cramps
- Aggravation of chronic problems like arthritis and ulcers
- Changes in bowel habits
- Difficulty with coordination or decreased balance
- Decreased sexual desire (libido)
- Menstrual cramps
- Hot flashes
- Acne flare-up
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Edema (visible swelling), particularly in the hands and legs
- Asthma and breathing difficulty
- Sinus problems or sore throat
- Heart pounding (palpitation)
- Tension or anxiety
- Appetite changes and food cravings
- Social withdrawal
- No interest in relationships or daily activities
- Decreased alertness and inability to concentrate
Mild symptoms can be relieved by taking proper rest, exercising regularly, doing meditation, consuming a diet rich in calcium, protein, and some vitamin supplements, and leading a stress-free life. For severe symptoms that do not subside in a day or so, which cause serious discomfort or uneasiness, do consult a health care provider to diagnose the underlying cause, and prescribe medications if necessary.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.