General Health · Sex + Relationships

PMS vs. You: How to Fight Off Your Worst Symptoms

You’ve heard of PMS, right? Of course, the men in our lives have turned it in to a more of a joke than reality, but it is real! PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) can seriously affect our bodies right before we get our period. Symptoms vary from woman to woman and some may be more severe than others, and can also be both physical and emotional. Some of the most common physical symptoms are cramps, weight gain, tender breasts, fatigue, muscle or back pain, headaches, acne, constipation or diarrhea. Yuck. Some of the most common emotional symptoms include crying spells, mood swings, depression, poor concentration, changes in appetite, anxiety, and irritability or anger. Yes, we have all seen the days when ourselves or a friend has a little shorter temper than usual!

Well ladies, although these symptoms may be hard to bear, there is a fix. And no, it’s not Midol. Studies have shown the causes of these symptoms are chemical changes or behavior habits. Sadly we can’t really do anything about the chemical changes, which include hormone fluctuations and changes in the brain that may result from undiagnosed depression or changes in neurotransmitters.

But we can fix the behaviors that can make PMS even worse than it has to be. Behaviors like bad eating habits or poor stress management can trigger those terrible symptoms. So take a yoga class (or five), try breathing exercises, or start using a stress ball. As for the food habits, be sure to include lots of legumes, whole grains, pork, fruits, dairy, and veggies in your diet. All of these foods are great sources of thiamin and riboflavin, which have been proven to prevent those PMS symptoms we all have experienced. Use these tips and be off to a more normal you during that dreaded time of the month.

By Aisling Williams