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Mental Mondays: Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms And How To Cope With It

Mental Mondays: Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms And How To Cope With It


“Breathe in, out…” Anita affirms herself as she attempts to calm down. She just had a heated argument with her sister, and looking in retrospect, it wasn’t worth it. The day before, she found herself crying for no reason. Don’t get her started on the Rom-coms and how they’ve been keeping her in her feelings lately. It was after she relaxed a bit that she realized her period was due in days, phew! That explains a lot! Are you like Anita? Do you find yourself moody, sad, or irritable days before your period? If yes, those are probably signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

Premenstrual syndrome consists of a group of symptoms women experience between ovulation and the menstrual period. These symptoms could range from physical to behavioral changes, and while they are likely common, tolerance rates vary per person. According to research, 3 out of 4 women experience symptoms of PMS. This usually occurs during the weeks between ovulation and menstruation and wears off a few days after menstruation starts.

Photo: Cliff Booth | Pexels

Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

These symptoms are not limited to the list below. Every woman is different and might experience PMS symptoms in varying intensity/occurrence.

Physical symptoms

• Breast tenderness and/or fullness
• Joint/muscle/waist pain
• Mild cramps/abdominal pains
• Nausea
• Headaches
• Acne
• Bloating
• Stomach issues

Behavioral symptoms

• Irritability
• Mood swings and/or depression
• Crying spells
• Insomnia
• Isolation
• Low or high sex drive
• Poor self-image
• Difficulty in concentration
• Change in eating pattern
• Mental breakdown
• Suicidal thoughts in extreme cases

Note: Premenstrual Syndrome is usually self-diagnosable and can be managed without intense medication. However, there could be cases when the services of a professional should be employed.

If symptoms seem to spiral out of control, perhaps it might be a case of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

Simply put, PMDD is a more chronic version of Premenstrual Syndrome, which might require urgent medical attention and commensurate lifestyle changes. This mental condition is frequently mistaken for bipolar disorder, as they both share similar symptoms like cycling mood disorders and depression.

Photo: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

Statistics show that women with a family history of mood disorders and/or PMS stand a higher chance of PMDD. While the cause of PMS and PMDD remains unknown, hormonal changes have been linked to these conditions.

The main distinguishing factor between PMS and PMDD is time. If you experience at least 5 symptoms consistently over a year, and/or if the symptoms interfere with normal daily activities, then it’s time to book a doctor’s appointment.

Check out the few ways to cope with premenstrual syndrome for better mental health…

#1. Mind what you eat

Photo: Trang Doan / Pexels

The saying goes; “your food is your medicine…” and no truer words have been said. Incorporate lots of protein and vegetables into your diet, while decreasing salt, sugar, high-fat foods, and alcohol. Combine with regular exercising for an impactful effect.

#2. Try dietary supplements

Photo: Castorly Stock / Pexels

While eating healthier will help regulate the body’s nutritional requirements, supplements are also an explorable option. Consider adding calcium, magnesium, Vitamin B, and E to your supplement kit. They ease a wide range of symptoms, from bloating to mood swings—exactly what we need.

#3. Consider hormone therapy

Photo: Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition / Unsplash

This is the use of birth control contraceptives to hinder ovulation, which may consequently alleviate PMS symptoms. While it may sound like good news, it is imperative to check with your doctor first.

#4. Explore aromatherapy

Photo: Chelsea shapouri / unsplash

This is simply the act of inhaling essential oils to help relieve the symptoms of PMS. Essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and clary sage are good options to explore.

How to:

• A warm bath is said to be therapeutic. Add a few drops of diluted essential oils into warm bath water for a soothing effect.

• Add a few drops into a cotton ball and inhale directly.

• To apply on the skin for a good massage, dilute in base oils like coconut oil, and test on your wrist or elbow (leave on for 24 hours) to check for irritation. If your skin doesn’t react, it’s time for a good healing massage.

Note: It’s also beneficial to light scented candles and meditate while in the bathtub. A sure-fire calming effect.

#5. Try antidepressants

Photo: / Pexels

If a natural approach seems futile, consult your doctor for prescription medications like antidepressants, as they slow the reuptake of serotonin. A hormone whose decline in the body has a significant link with PMS.

#6. Try diuretics

Photo: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

Also known as water fluids, this type of medication helps the body get rid of excess fluid, which could be the cause of bloating and swelling during premenstrual syndrome.

Remember to write down your symptoms and record changes over time. This would help the individual/doctor track progress over time.

Featured image: Monstera | Pexels

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