PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, describes a range of symptoms, including cramps and emotional changes, that occur right before your period. The term PMS is used to describe a lot of different things that women go through during this time of the month.
What Does PMS Stand For?
The short answer is premenstrual syndrome. To truly answer the question, however, you need to understand PMS better. This syndrome is the collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms that take place as part of the final part of the menstrual cycle. There is a spectrum for the syndrome as symptoms can vary in intensity and symptoms. Because of this reason, some women choose to answer with a joking title, such as Prominent Mood Shift or Pretty Miserable Situation. Some women will experience PMS for a full two weeks before the start of their period, but not all will have symptoms for that long and some women won’t have any at all.
Who Gets PMS?
The good news is that not all women have to suffer through PMS and its symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, around 75 percent of women experience PMS in some form. This means that if you are one of those women, you aren’t alone. While a lucky few don’t get PMS, others will have symptoms lasting through their period.
What Are the Signs of PMS?
The signs of PMS vary from person to person, but can include:
- Crying spells, mood swings, irritability, or tension
- Trouble with memory or concentration
- Muscle or joint pain
- Food cravings or changes in appetite
- Backache or headache
- Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, upset stomach
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling tired
- Tender or swollen breasts
- Depression or anxiety
What Causes PMS?
Now that you can answer what does PMS stand for, it is time to learn about its causes. Although the exact causes aren’t known, the following factors play a role.
Cyclic Hormonal Changes
Premenstrual syndrome symptoms will change as your hormones fluctuate. They will typically disappear during menopause and pregnancy.
Chemical changes of the brain
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and its fluctuations are linked to mood states. Because of this, experts think it may play a role in PMS symptoms. If you don’t have enough serotonin, you may experience sleep problems, food cravings, fatigue, and premenstrual depression.
Some of the women who experience severe PMS have undiagnosed depression. Keep in mind, however, that depression won’t cause all symptoms.
How to Reduce the Symptoms of PMS
Since you know the answer to what does PMS stand for is premenstrual syndrome, and there is some symptoms to trace when it comes, then you can find solutions to ease the PMS.
1. Take a Calcium Supplement
Calcium can help you stop mood swings, depression, and cramps linked to PMS. Aim to take 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day for the benefits.
2. Get Moving
When you exercise regularly, this will reduce your stress as well as PMS symptoms like mood swings and depression. As a bonus, exercising will also reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.
3. Vitamin E and Magnesium
Taking vitamin E and/or magnesium can reduce breast tenderness linked to PMS. Magnesium will also work to fight your sugar cravings. Aim to take no more than 500 milligrams of magnesium and 600 milligrams of vitamin E every day.
4. Over-the-Counter Treatments
There are also over-the-counter medications that can help relieve cramps and other pain linked to PMS. Consider PMS-specific pain reliever, Midol, ibuprofen, or Naproxen. Be sure to avoid taking aspirin during your period, however, since it will prolong the bleeding.
It can also help to take care of your body and follow a healthy diet. Try following these easy tips as well as the following recommendations for a healthy diet to reduce PMS symptoms.
Eight Healthy Dietary Tips to Ease PMS
1. Eat More Calcium
Studies have shown that women who have a higher intake of vitamin D and calcium are less likely to experience PMS. You will notice better results when you consume calcium naturally in your diet as opposed to through a supplement. Aim to have three servings of food rich in calcium daily.
2. Don’t Skip Meals
The hormones that accompany and cause PMS can also affect your appetite. Eating regular meals and snacking can help prevent getting too hungry. Remember that skipping a meal will also lower blood sugar levels and worsen period-related depression.
3. Pick Whole Grains, Veggies, Fruit, and Lean Protein
Eat better throughout the entire month, not just during your period. Aim to eat fruits and vegetables that are packed with color and fiber and pick whole grains like rye bread, oatmeal, and brown rice. You can also get B-vitamins from fortified cereals and bread.
4. Don’t Eat Too Much Sugar
Sugar cravings during PMS are typically due to shifting levels of progesterone and estrogen, which also decrease serotonin levels. Some studies show that women who suffer from PMS consume 200 to 500 calories during their time of the month, mostly from sweets, carbs, and fats. Try eating whole grains instead of sweets.
5. Watch What You Drink
Some studies, but not all, have shown that women experiencing PMS are more likely to use alcohol. Although experts frequently suggest reducing alcohol and caffeine intake at this time of the month, others say this is not necessary. There isn’t, however, any negative to reducing your intake of these elements and it can reduce bloating and breast tenderness. Drink more water to help with bloating as well
6. Pay Attention to Salt
Salt is commonly found in most processed foods, but you should still try to reduce your intake. If it isn’t possible to cut back, drink more water so your body can easily eliminate the extra sodium.
7. Consider Supplements
Consider taking a multivitamin as well as 600 mg calcium carbonate containing vitamin D, and 100 mg vitamin B6 each day. You should also make sure to have 400 mg of magnesium oxide and a calcium-rich serving of food. Magnesium can help with water retention and mood changes while B6 can help with the latter.
8. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
To further reduce PMS symptoms, try to maintain a healthy body weight, stay physically active, and reduce stress. Also, get enough sleep and quit smoking.