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Understanding PMS

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What is PMS?

PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. This is the phase of the menstrual cycle that occurs in the week or two before the period actually begins. In fact, one in three women experiences PMS.

Generally, PMS symptoms begin the same day as ovulation and end the day the period starts, which is usually an average of two weeks. Since every person’s cycle is different, the specific length of time could vary because of factors like hormonal imbalance, lack of nutrients, stress, being on a birth control, also suffering PMDD, etc.

information about PMS
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Why do I experience PMS symptoms two weeks before my period?

The typical timeline for PMS to occur in your average woman is 14 days from the day she begins to ovulate and carries on into the luteal phase. It is pretty standard to show PMS symptoms two weeks before your period. 

The typical PMS signs and symptoms include: mood disorders/mood swings, tender breasts/breast pain, bleeding, food cravings, cramps, fatigue, getting nauseous. If you have PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), you may experience enhanced or additional symptoms because of it.

There are ways to combat the symptoms of PMS. You may want to try eating foods that are high in calcium, try a form of therapy or de-stressing activity for emotional help or try doctor-approved medications or birth control pills. You may want to try a physical activity which can also reduce your chances of period cramps. Ultimately, the best thing is to listen to your body and nourish in the best way you can.

Is PMS a mental health problem?

PMS is hardly ever linked to a mental disorder, but rather is the varying reactions to changes in hormones just before a period. PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, is said to be like your regular PMS but a very severe version of it. This severe form of PMS over the years has been slowly shifted into the category of being a distinct mental disorder. Mind UK is an.excellent resource detailing the extreme symptoms of PMDD. If you think you may suffer from it, speak to your doctor about the best remedies for you.

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How can I prevent mood swings during my period?

Periods can be very different for each person, but mood swings are usually a common denominator in PMS symptoms. While you can’t completely prevent a mood swing or mood disorder, they can be managed. Avoid triggers like caffeine and alcohol as that can spike your blood sugar and hormone levels resulting in a mood downswing. (Kind of like that mid-afternoon crash if you had too much coffee in the morning.) Eat several smaller meals or snacks throughout the day, get your recommended amount of sleep and practice stress management techniques. You may want to try a physical activity like yoga or running, a spiritual one like meditation or just take time to read a book or watch another episode of your favourite TV show. If you’re feeling low, reach out to a good friend and catch up with them over a cup of (decaf) tea or just over the phone. If these feelings persist, it is best to consult with your doctor who may refer you to a therapist or prescribe medication.

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Why do I feel depressed or can't stop crying when I have my period?

Crying and depression are symptoms that can be exhibited during premenstrual stress disorders. Since PMS typically occurs from the first day of ovulation till just after your period begins, crying, feeling depressed or having heightened fatigue may be indicative that you are experiencing PMS.

Do I still get PMS symptoms even if I have a hysterectomy?

You could still exhibit signs of PMS after getting a hysterectomy if your ovaries are still in place. If they are, you will still experience a menstrual cycle, but you just won’t bleed during the period phase as the uterus is removed during the hysterectomy. If both of your ovaries are also removed, you will no longer experience a cycle but may experience some early menopausal symptoms.

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What are the best foods to eat during my period?

It’s mostly advised to switch up to a healthier diet plan during your menstrual cycle to help with the management of PMS and PMDD. Foods like yoghurt, whole grains, leafy greens, salmon, etc. are great food options for when you are on your period. And yes - you can still eat chocolate!

Will I still experience a period if I am a transgender man?

This all depends on if you are going through HRT, hormone replacement therapy, that includes testosterone. If you do, your period may stop, change, or even remain the same. If you are not taking HRT, or still experience a period, It may be helpful to track your period so you can be prepared each time it comes around. This can help manage possible gender dysphoria and help you remember to buy supplies or pull out your WUKA ahead of time.

It’s always best to discuss any possible side effects before beginning HRT with your doctor.

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Will I start to have a period if I am a transgender woman?

The easy answer is no. Because you don’t have ovaries or a uterus, you won’t have a period or a menstrual cycle. But the more complex answer is that if you take HRT that contains estrogen, you may experience side effects like breast pain, bloating or acne, which can be similar to physical PMS symptoms. It’s also possible to experience anxiety, nausea, bloating and other similar symptoms. Some have reported this happens on a monthly cycle. You may also want to track your hormonal cycle so you can anticipate when this will happen.
It’s always best to discuss any possible side effects before beginning HRT with your doctor.