Premenstrual Syndrome. The mere mention of the words is enough to make any girl wince (and any guy scurry to the nearest exit). It’s a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occurs 5 to 11 days before you get your period. Those all too familiar body-related symptoms include: bloating sensation, breast tenderness, headaches and migraines , nausea, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue and vomiting. Pretty huh? As for the psychological or behavioral changes, when PMS hits suddenly you find yourself snapping at your seatmate for borrowing a pen or going into a sobfest upon seeing your crush laughing with some pretty girl; your moods from crappy to crappier.
Blame it on progeste-what?
Yes, every month our hormone levels, more specifically progesterone, normally rise and drop according to what our body normally needs. PMS is the abnormal response to those normal hormonal changes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health in the US. While research has proven that there is a link between the presence of female sex hormones and PMS symptoms, the hormones aren’t necessarily the cause of disorder, because not all women experience PMS. As to why some girls have it and some blessedly don’t, it’s still not known.
We’ve got you covered!
Even if certain questions surrounding PMS remain a mystery, we’ve finally figured out how to cope during those totally dreadful days. Joan Tan Garcia, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist from St.Luke’s medical Center suggests the following:
Guzzle on the high-calcium and high-magnesium from their diet have less breast tenderness. (You can also get your dose of magnesium from green leafy veggies and nuts). One thousand milligrams of calcium a day (taken with vitamin D) may also treat premenstrual pain and migraine . Other studies have shown that for servings of milk (or cheese and other high-calcium food) will make you less likely to fell excessively emotional. So before you start reaching for a box of tissue, start a drink-your-milk habit.
Break the caffeine fix.
While you don’t have totally sear off trips to the nearest Starbucks, just hold off ordering that cup of coffee during the second half of your menstrual cycle (if you have a 28-day cycle, the second half are those two weeks preceding and for the duration of your period). It is also known to hamper your body’s absorption of calcium. And we know we need that calcium.
Slow down on that sugar rush.
As much as we love chocolate and soft drinks, it won’t feel so sweet after indulging in those sugar-loaded foods. Excess sugar can actually worsen your PMS, because it causes an unnatural high and crash. It may lead to emotional symptoms including anxiety, irritability, insomnia and depression. Doctors recommend eating around five small meals a day to control your blood sugar (and moods) from swinging, which a lot of food intake or sugar can do.
Stay away from the chips.
Ever you get the feeling you balloon every month? It’s probably not just your imagination since PMS brings with it a bloating sensation. Water retention is usually the culprit and to curb it, it’s best to have a low-salt diet. So go easy on the potato chips and other salty munchies, and drink lots of water.
Work up a sweat.
Aside from being good for our body, a regular exercise routine is also a great way to naturally improve our mood. “Studies have shown that girls who have PMS have lesser serotonin, which is hormone that’s supposed to perk you up or give you a sense of well-being. Exercise increases our levels of serotonin,” says Tan Garcia. Further research indicates that it also “raises levels of beta endorphins, which have a positive effect on mood and behavior.” (As if you didn’t know that already from Legally Blonde!) Another kicking benefit of exercise is it reduces stress levels. Tan Garcia narrates that students under a lot of stress, for instance, experience PMS prior to their next period. So relax and make it a habit to work up a sweat before you get swamped with homework and projects.