Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Bloating; moodiness; food cravings; headaches; acne; nausea; if you menstruate you are probably more than familiar with these symptoms. You know, the ones that show up just before your period starts. Those symptoms make you want to close the curtains and hide under your covers all day. These experiences are extremely common amongst menstruating people and fall under the umbrella term of Premenstrual Syndrome, or, PMS.
PMS is defined as a combination of physical and psychological symptoms that occur after the ovulation period, and before the start of menstruation.
Some including (but not limited to):
Bloating & weight gain
Abdominal pain (source)
Some people do not experience PMS at all. Others have very extreme symptoms every month, causing them to sometimes miss work or other important activities in their life. PMS is common amongst nearly three out of four menstruating individuals.
While there is no one cure for PMS, there are several ways to treat it and manage the symptoms. Many healthcare professionals recommend a change in diet. Switching to a base diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and low-fat dairy has been shown to help with physical symptoms, as well as doing light exercises. Over-the-counter pain medicine can also be used, such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin.
As for psychological symptoms, sometimes a simple warm bath and a nap can do wonders. Your body will thank you for slowing down for a bit and giving it some R&R. Of course, if stronger psychological symptoms persist and stop you from functioning on a day-to-day basis, contacting a mental health and/or healthcare professional is highly recommended. SSRIs can be administered if feelings of anxiety or depression are persistent and interfere with your life. Some doctors may even prescribe low-estrogen birth control pills if PMS symptoms persist.
Please note that this article is not a medical journal and all major health decisions and diagnoses should be done by a licensed professional. We at Free Periods want to advocate for you to take care of your body, listen to what it needs, and stay informed!