What Is PMS?

What is PMS? We have all heard a woman say,

What is PMS? We have all heard a woman say, "I have PMS." Maybe we have even said it ourselves. Is this a legitimate disorder or just an excuse? The answer is that PMS is real. PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. It is a syndrome that affects about 20 to 90 percent of all women who menstruate. The syndrome varies in severity and in symptoms from woman to woman and from month to month. The body of a woman menstruating has cycles every month. The symptoms that make up PMS are believed to be due to hormonal changes each month, the levels that of estrogen and progesterone and fluctuate.

Symptoms of PMS include but are not limited to: headaches, body aches, tender breasts, bloating, swelling, abdominal pain and cramping, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, moodiness. PMS usually occurs several days to a week before a woman's period starts. The controversy comes in because some women use the PMS excuse as a joke or excuse for being moody at any given time. Also our male counterparts use the term loosely as a joke just as often.

Some things you can do to prevent PMS or at least reduce its symptoms each month. Wearing a supportive bra will help support tender breasts. Get plenty of rest. Eat a well balanced diet. Stay away from salt, sugar, caffiene and alcohol. This will alleviate the bloating and swelling and some of the tender points. Take over the counter analgesics (pain relievers), like tylenol. Don't take aspirin or aspirin products while on your period, as this can make your bleeding heavier. Exercise regularly. Exercise helps release endorphins which are natural pain relievers and help boost mood. Let your family know what happens every month and that it is not their fault, and that you love them and you will be okay! If depression is severe or prolonged, hormonal therapy, antidepressants, or antianxiety medication may be necessary. See your doctor if necessary.

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