• 7 Tips to Ease PMS

    on Feb 1st, 2019

Approximately 75% of women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but these symptoms can vary. For example, you may have some fatigue, or you may suffer from cramps and pains that are severe enough to keep you in bed with a heating pad and a family-sized bar of chocolate.

If cramps, mood swings, fatigue, and bloating disrupt your life, you can take some steps to ease your symptoms.

The doctors at North Texas OB/GYN know how disruptive PMS can be, and they want to help you stay comfortable and healthy at every time of the month.

What causes PMS?

Generally, PMS symptoms appear for the 5-11 days before your period begins. Your estrogen levels start to increase soon after your period ends and slowly increase until you ovulate, and then they plummet. This sudden drop in estrogen levels is the primary cause of your PMS symptoms.

However, your fluctuating estrogen and progestin also affect your serotonin levels. Serotonin is one of your neurotransmitters that regulates your mood, sleep cycle, and appetite. Low levels of serotonin are known to cause sadness, irritability, sleep disturbances, and unusual food cravings.

Advice to soothe PMS symptoms

Fortunately, you can take some steps to manage your PMS symptoms and make that time of the month a little easier for you. Everyone is a bit different when it comes to PMS, but improving your overall health and being aware of your body’s needs can help you manage your symptoms, no matter what they are.

Track your symptoms

Pay attention to your cycle and your symptoms. There are plenty of apps available to help you keep track of what’s going on with your body, and being forewarned is forearmed. For example, if you realize that you’re always exhausted in the few days before your period starts, you’ll know to plan on some early nights to give your body the extra rest it needs.

Don’t give in to the cravings

It’s a cliché, but premenstrual cravings for sweet or salty treats are a common symptom of PMS. While your body is screaming for chocolate or french fries, it’s tempting just to give in. But too much sugar, salt, or that glass of wine to help you “relax” will actually do more harm than good.

Stick to plenty of water, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. And by all means, if your cravings are intense, treat yourself in moderation.

Get some exercise

If you have menstrual cramps, exercise might sound like the last thing you want to do. However, regular exercise boosts your serotonin levels, which can help regulate your moods and reduce your PMS symptoms. Even a brisk walk can help you feel better

Take over-the-counter meds and supplements

If you have cramps, over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen can relieve your pain. You can also try adding supplements. Studies show that taking extra calcium, vitamin D, and B vitamins can reduce your PMS symptoms.

Go to bed a little earlier

Your body restores and replenishes itself while you sleep. When you know your PMS is going to peak, set aside time to go to bed a little earlier. The changes in your serotonin levels may disrupt your sleep cycles, but making sufficient time to rest can help you feel better.

Manage your stress

While stress doesn’t cause PMS, it certainly doesn’t make it better, and in some cases, can make it worse. Take some time for self-care, and practice activities that help you reduce your stress. No single method for stress reduction works for everyone, but meditation, yoga, and more vigorous exercise can help.

Talk to your gynecologist

If your PMS disrupts your life, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms. Around 8% of women experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a very severe type of PMS that causes depression and extreme, debilitating physical symptoms. Your gynecologist can offer treatments and therapies to help you reduce your symptoms and stay healthy and active.

The team of doctors and clinical staff at North Texas OB/GYN provide compassionate and customized women’s health care, including PMS management. Call the practice or schedule an appointment online today.

 

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