Almost every woman knows the PMS symptoms; the cramps, the bloating, the cravings and fatigue, and let’s not forget the tender breasts. Yes, it visits every month without fail, doesn’t it, making others think that we’re crazy and everyday life just that little more difficult. The bad news is that you can’t stop this natural process, but there’s also good news: raging symptoms can be tamed.
WHAT IS PMS?
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can best be understood as a group of symptoms that occur in affected women in the second half of the menstrual cycle. They can last weeks or a day, but they always occur prior to the onset of menstruation and subside either when menstrual bleeding starts or shortly after. In younger women, symptoms tend to be quite mild, but they can become more severe with time, and some women have it worse than others. By the time most PMS women reach 35, their symptoms will have reached their peak. Here are 4 ways to tame your raging PMS symptoms …
1. GET SOME EXERCISE
To date, numerous studies have been conducted to assess the impact of exercise on premenstrual syndrome, and they have clearly demonstrated that women who work out regularly have fewer symptoms than those who don’t. It works because exercise releases endorphins, relieving pain and stress. Also, when you’re building muscle, your blood flows better and bloating subsides. Additionally, working out boosts the metabolism, which makes it easier to control cravings and weight. One doesn’t have to train hard, though. In fact, it is recommended that women engage in light exercise. A 30-minute walk each day will help to alleviate PMS symptoms.
2. MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Since stress is a major aggravator to the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, a stress management treatment program is logical in preventing or treating them. For physicians, this sometimes means prescribing anxiolytics for patients, tranquilizers that reduce anxiety in order to chop stress levels. Tranquilizers, however, can be very addictive and produce side effects, which is why doctors generally prefer not to prescribe them. Tranquilizing drugs like benzodiazepines (Xanax) can be helpful when PMS symptoms are severe, but a non-drug-based stress program is much safer and more sustainable. Yoga, tai chi and meditation are good, natural ways to de-stress.
3. TRY MOOD ELEVATORS
Another effective way to treat the unforgiving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, especially depression, mood swings and irritability, is by medicating with fluoxetine, sertraline, escitalopram, paroxetine or citalopram, antidepressants that are known as selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. In a nutshell, these drugs raise serotonin levels in the brain, relieving tension and elevating mood. They are generally quite effective and work pretty fast, with 7 out of 10 women reporting drastic improvements upon taking them. As with most drugs, there is the risk of side effects—drowsiness, nausea, headaches, loss of libido, etc.—so consider that upfront.
4. FIGHT HORMONES WITH HORMONES
Hormone therapies are based on the premise that PMS is caused by progesterone deficiency and estrogen excess, and approaches can vary. In one approach, progesterone levels are artificially raised to reestablish the progesterone-estrogen ratio. In another, estrogen levels are suppressed. In yet another approach, ovulation is blocked, controlling both estrogen and progesterone production. In recent years, the use of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonists (strong hormone drugs) have proven quite helpful in managing premenstrual symptoms. Once again, the idea being to fix hormonal imbalance. Speak to your doctor about your hormone therapy options.
YOUR TURN: Have you tried these methods to relieve your PMS symptoms? What worked for you? We would love to hear your thoughts. Please share your experience in the comment section below.