Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is a little-understood medical condition that women of childbearing age all over endure. While its triggers and causes are still unknown, it often attributes to fluctuating hormone levels, intolerable symptoms that can affect work, social relations and one’s peace of mind. Here are a few pointers on how to tackle the monthly challenge.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
The number, severity and quality of symptoms vary individually. According to WebMD, the most commonly reported ones include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Food cravings/overeating
- Mood swings and/or depression
What lifestyle changes can help against PMS?
Certain observations and modifications to your daily schedule may have a major impact in controlling your current symptoms:
- Exercise: Regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, running and swimming, has shown to alleviate symptoms of PMS, especially depression and fatigue. Aim for an average of 30 minutes of exercise for most days of the week.
- Diet modifications: Addition of complex carbohydrates, and food rich in calcium has shown to be beneficial. Avoid salty food, caffeine and alcohol as they can aggravate physical symptoms. Also reduce fat and sugar intake, while keeping your meals short and frequent.
- Supplements: If your diet is inadequate in calcium, a daily supplement can compensate the deficit. Magnesium supplements can reduce symptoms of breast tenderness, bloating and mood swings. Vitamin E supplements may also help reduce symptoms.
- Relaxation techniques: Breathing exercise, meditation and yoga are just some of the techniques you can try out. Getting adequate sleep is also essential.
- Medications: Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe hormone supplements, painkillers or anti-depressants.
Can other conditions present similarly?
Sometimes the above-mentioned symptoms may be due to underlying disorders unrelated to your cycles, which would warrant consulting a relevant specialist:
- Thyroid problems
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome