We have stepped into an era where speaking about periods is no more a taboo. People are comfortable using the term. Along with periods, a lot of associated terms have also come into the flow. PMS or premenstrual syndrome is one of the predominant terms in association with menstruation.
While many of us have developed a fair idea regarding the physiology and whereabouts of menstruation, the idea of PMS still remains blurred.
The irony is that PMS is the most talked about topic in recent days but people hardly know the actual physiology of PMS.
What does PMS stand for? (PMS abbreviation)
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome. As the name suggests, it precedes your menstrual flow. Most women are well acquainted with the uneasy feeling that comes before the onset of menstrual flow.
The aggregation of such multiple symptoms is termed as premenstrual syndrome.
On inquiring 10 women, about 7 will complain about feeling extreme abdominal pain, body ache, nausea, and many other symptoms all of which are uncomfortable in fact. Each of these have their own physiological reasons.
What is PMSing?
With the advent of social media and its increasing influence on people’s lives, the vocabulary has undergone a literal renaissance.
As we discussed, these days anything in relation to periods is incomplete without PMS.
You cannot use the term PMS in relation to any random symptom until it is validated on medical grounds.
The word PMSing is gaining mass popularity these days.
Follow this sentence carefully to understand the not so grammatically significant term PMSing.
“I am extremely sorry that I misbehaved with you previously, I was just PMSing.”
Therefore, PMSing means performing any act driven by the premenstrual syndrome or any act as a result of the PMS.
This PMSing has successfully secured a place in the list of verbs and is going to be even more flaunting in future.
But, after reading this full article, I am sure that you will be able to identify the eternal truth behind PMS and PMSing.
What does PMS mean in medical terms?
Let us understand the physiology of PMS. When ovulation occurs in the ovary, that is the secondary oocyte is released from the graafian follicle, it is supposed to get fertilized and lead to conception.
In case it does not occur, the uterine lining that had been prepared to accept the fertilized zygote slowly dies off and this denatured lining is the period fluid that is discharged.
Just before the onset of period bleeding, the corpus luteum degenerates that had been so long secreting progesterone. Therefore, the death of corpus luteum causes a marked decline in the progesterone level.
This hormonal change is assumed to be the key reason of PMS. Progesterone is a depressant for the central nervous system. On its withdrawal, the anxiety and overshoot of depression becomes tremendous.
History of PMS
Long back when women openly started to speak about the issue of PMS, medical science rejected the idea tagging it as a completely imaginative affair.
Physicians claimed that it was nothing but apprehension which made them feel so. But, with the further advancement of medical science, the validity of PMS and its association with hormonal factors were proven.
The physical and emotional aspects of premenstrual syndrome was scientifically established.
Signs and symptoms of PMS
The symptomatic manifestations of PMS are many.
- Abdominal pain
- Sore and tender breasts
- Mood swings
- Muscle pain and at times joint aches
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of energy
- Constipation for some and diarrhea for some
- Fluid retention and bloating
Physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are many but what remains a hush topic still now are the emotional or psychological effects of PMS.
Feeling of depression, irritability and withdrawal symptoms are extremely common during this time. Changes in libido is also one of the prominent symptoms.
If you have never experienced a PMS, then you might regard these as simple symptoms but their effects are deep rooted. These affect the level of productivity and the behavioral patterns of individuals on a daily basis.
Menstrual cramps are painful for many and PMS is no less.
The main reason behind PMS can be cited as the change in level of hormones. The onset of menstrual flow is a part of the female menstrual cycle which is monthly in nature. Even PMS is an outcome of the hormonal changes.
The extent of PMS symptoms can vary over a wide range right from little to severe. Usually these symptoms disappear with onset of periods or might continue till the end of periods.
For majority of women, PMS is within tolerable limits. But, it is not uncommon for the limit to be exceeded in many others. In such cases, seeing a doctor is a must.
With a few modifications in lifestyle, the extent of PMS effects can definitely be reduced. Though the physical symptoms are predictable, the emotional outbursts are so very unpredictable.
For one month you might experience craving for chocolates as a part of PMS, the very next month the smell of chocolate might make you nauseous. That is how erratic it is.
When the PMS symptoms become so intense that they literally disrupt your daily life, there is a special term that is used, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMD.
Emotional symptoms of PMS can be cited as
- Mood swings
- Hot flushes
- Erratic behavior
Well, the list of symptoms seems to be endless. Scientifically, more than 500 different symptoms on PMS have been identified so far.
How long does PMS last for?
PMS usually does not last long. The symptoms of PMS usually start its manifestations before 4 to 5 days of periods.
In most women, the symptoms elapse with the start of menstrual flow. Whereas, in some women, the symptoms persist till the end of the periods. The monthly reproductive menstrual cycle in human females is usually of 28 days.
The ovulation occurs at day 14. The symptoms are not usually observed in the preovulatory phase.
Hence, it can be concluded that PMS prevails only during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Diagnosis of PMS
When we talk about the diagnosis, there is like no established laboratory test for diagnosing the PMS. When any woman visits doctor with certain symptomatically complaints in relation to PMS, it is solely the symptoms described by the patient that the doctor needs to rely on.
The symptoms as described previously must be prevalent significantly in the woman.
Moreover, these symptoms must affect the woman’s day to day normal activities in a derogatory way. Anything and everything that dawn upon you before periods cannot be labelled as PMS.
However, a physician generally looks at the pattern in which the symptoms occur. The duration of the symptoms and the pattern of regularity of the premenstrual symptoms enlisted for a particular woman are significant diagnosing tools for PMS.
PMS can actually be of two types: mild and severe. The mild one involves symptoms that can be dealt with and does not cause much issues in the normal life of women.
However, PMD which is a severe form of PMS is deep rooted. PMD equally affects the physical and mental status of an individual in a very negative way.
There have been various standardized instruments that have come up to diagnose PMS. These include calendar of premenstrual syndrome experiences, Visual Analogue Scale, Prospective Record of the impact, and severity of menstruation.
There is a standard norm that has been set up to label symptoms precisely as PMS.
This standard as set up by the National Institute of Mental Health Research says that if the symptoms increase by about 30 percent in five to six days prior to menstrual bleeding, then only the symptom will qualify as premenstrual syndrome.
Moreover, as discussed previously, the pattern of prevalence of these symptoms must be accounted for at least 3 menstrual cycles.
How to treat PMS at home?
More than 75 percent women who are in the reproductive age, to be precise in the age group of 20 to 40 experience PMS every month. It is extreme for few and mild for others.
But whatever it is, you should always know some remedies that can be easily done at home to get rid of PMS.
1. Modify your diet: Your gut will substantially help out PMS if you can befriend it. Taking food rich in calcium and minerals will help you to deal with PMS.
Full fat milk, cheese, almonds, and green veggies can significantly reduce the symptoms of PMS. Also, include vitamin D, good portions of micro and macro nutrients in your diet. These will help you to combat PMS.
2. Go for light exercises and yoga: Oh my god periods are approaching, so I should confine myself to rest should not be your attitude. No doubt, periods demand for extra care and more than normal rest.
Well, that does not mean you won’t get up from the bed. Walk briskly, do a bit of stretching, and also perform simple yogasanas. These will keep you active and relax the muscles.
3. Say NO to stress: Stress management can also improve the conditions during pre-periods. Do things that you like. Singing, dancing, playing, watching movies, reading books, and so on. These will relax your mind and wave good bye to stress.
4. Say a big no to smoking, alcohol consumption, and over drinking caffeine during this time. All these enhance the effects of PMS. So, stay away from these.
5. Take a massage: Deep relaxing tissue massage, oil massage, acupuncture, and certain other approaches like aroma therapy can definitely be tried to reduce the impact of PMS.
6. Stop taking deep-fried food: Indigestion and fluid retention are extremely common whereabouts of PMS. To stop these, you must abstain from taking too spicy or deep-fried food. Food craving is very common during this time but you must choose wisely your indulgences.
After knowing about all these I am sure that PMS no longer seems as cool, funky, or light as its social media manifestations seem. It is a grave topic to be discussed about.
Now, it is definitely appreciable that women are speaking about periods openly, but at the same time you must know how far to believe on generalized advice. Many anthropologists through their social surveys have come up with mind boggling facts about PMS.
PMS is actually not felt until known, is a popular observation. This means that many women across the globe feel PMS every month, but they do not know that it is actually a condition related to periods.
As and when you start to know about these things, you can relate the symptoms to be premenstrual in nature.
But in the modern days, the word PMS is being used very randomly. Any misbehavior, a simple muscle pain, feeling of stress are all being correlated with periods. Nobody even cares to approve or validate these scientifically.
The whole idea of PMS has become trendy on every social media platform these days. Women are sharing their experiences and whereabout of PMS on public platforms.
PMS is a widely discussed topic on Facebook, Snapchat, and so on. To be honest, each one of us have gone through these, but are these correct?
Are the explanations and remedies that are put forward quite logical? Well it is subject to research.
To reveal the truth, most women pen down their own experiences without even knowing what are the reasons, actual symptoms, or remedies for PMS.
A few of them don’t even know what PMS stands for. Now, anything that is related to gynecological health is definitely ultra-sensitive.
It is an earnest advice to all the lovely ladies who are reading this article, not to believe in anything that is fake regarding PMS.
For example, prior to your periods, you may have a bad fight with your boyfriend or you may suffer from indigestion due to overeating unhealthy street food.
Now, this essentially does not mean that you are suffering from PMS. It may be so but the whole idea is that all your behavior before periods can’t be judged as a part of PMS.
PMS is quite normal. But, it is not as simple and as feathery as often described on the social media platforms.
So, all the young girls who have just started menstruating as well as the ladies who hardly know about this stuff, try know about the scientific bases of PMS before believing in anything. Hope, this article was helpful.
Keep smiling and happy periods. You are as pure as your period blood is.