Feeling energetic, happy, upbeat and even-tempered is what goes on for three weeks out of every month, and then, suddenly, it happens. A week, right before your menstruation begins, the changes occur. Your mood swings change from one day being even-tempered to frustration, irritability to down right anger, and many times even depression. Your breasts become tender to the touch, and your ankles, feet, hands and stomach swell so much that your clothes become too fit, snug, and tight that it’s uncomfortable to move. Somehow, despite the cramps and the headaches, we manage to make our way to the refrigerator to satisfy our cravings. Sounds awful? Definitely, but unfortunately it’s a medical condition we women have to deal with on a monthly basis.
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is considered a medical condition because it brings discomfort in your body. It mainly affects women of childbearing age. As per the Cleveland clinic website, “more than one in three women suffer from PMS and 20 suffer so severely that their lives are seriously affected.” PMS is a symptom that occurs regularly in relation to the menstrual cycle, with the onset of symptoms 5 to 11 days before the onset of menses and resolution of symptoms which menses or shortly thereafter. A source describes PMS as a disorder characterized by a series of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms in a significant number of women for up to two weeks prior to menstruation.
There are many symptoms associated with this condition. The most common physical symptoms include headaches, backaches, swelling of ankles, feet and hands, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, gaseous muscle spasms, soreness of breast, weight gain, recurrent cold sores, acne flare ups, nausea, bloating, bowel changes as in constipation or diarrhea, food cravings, and last but not least, painful menstruation. Some other physical symptoms can include anxiety, confusion, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, irritability, hostility, aggressive behavior, fatigue, libido changes, paranoia, low self-esteem (Wikipedia). Obviously the symptoms are many and have different levels of severity, but, regardless, of all these symptoms yet no test can diagnose PMS. Many of us women have been asking ourselves this question every time we experience PMS: “what causes this?” The exactcause of PMS is yet to be known.
One thing that has been mentioned is that “some women are particularly sensitive to the normal fluctuations of hormone production during the menstrual cycle and that others react to the changes in serotonin meaning a brain chemical that affects mood.” In my research, I found out that fluctuation of hormone, meaning the period of time in a women life when they experience a change, occurs mainly during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Scientist believe that it might have to do with the ovarian cycle and how it diffuses to make the proper change while forcing your body to accustom to these changes. This more than likely causes all of these symptoms. On the other hand, some believe the hormonal estrogen levels have something to do with this medical condition, since the female hormone estrogen starts to rise after menstruation and peaks mid-cycle, which then rapidly drops but only to slowly rise and then fall again in the time before menstruation. Despite frequent neurological, physical, emotional and mental testing done, assumptions are the way PMS is diagnosed.
As women, our body faces its ups and downs, mainly the point in time of this cruel medical condition premenstrual symptom better known as PMS having no cause no resolution. We have come only to learn to live with it and ease the pain and discomforts. Several suggestions to try to cope with PMS or even try to reduce pain and discomfort, good nutrition and having a well balanced diet can relieve symptoms of PMS. One suggestion is to eat fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, but avoiding excess salt, sugar caffeine and alcohol, particularly when experiencing PMS symptoms. Also, taking vitamins, exercising by walking, cycling, swimming or any aerobic activity. Ironically enough, women feel just too horrible while experiencing PMS symptoms and the last thing on their minds is to manage to get up and exercise. Stress reduction is another way to alleviate symptoms. As hard as it may seem, nowadays, to live a stress free life, for women it is key to relax. Even the smallest gesture of a bubble bath, can come a long way. Lots of rest is important too as well. And last, there is always over the counter pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen or prescribed medicine if you have severe pain, depression, or anxiety.
Is PMS (premenstrual symptom) a medical condition? Most definitely, because it causes discomfort in women’s body and produces symptoms, that us women need to learn to cope with. All these facts about PMS are an experience of an exaggeration of normal function which we may not be able to get rid of, but for which there is treatment as exercising, eating right, and many others. Many medical conditions are never cured just treatable, and PMS falls in that category.