If you’ve ever suffered from it, you already know it: Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) is no myth! But it sometimes gets a bad rap as something less than a true ailment.
Below are a few statements concerning PMS. Some statements are factual, others fictional. Test your knowledge and see if you can separate the facts from the fiction.
PMS is all in your head.
Myth. PMS is a real condition that brings with it both physical and emotional symptoms. Before your period, hormone levels can skyrocket causing irritability, anxiety, sadness, or anger. PMS sufferers may also feel physical symptoms such as cramps, headaches, bloating, and breast tenderness. PMS should never be dismissed as imaginary.
Doctors don’t know what causes PMS.
Fact. The actual causes of PMS are unclear, but doctors have identified several factors that may be involved. Chief among them are changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. Chemical changes in the brain may also be involved.
Every woman has PMS.
Fiction. Some women develop PMS, some don’t. Some get it every month, others only now and then. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that at least 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom as part of their monthly cycle.
PMS occurs more often in women who have a family history of depression.
Fact. It also occurs more often in women who are in their late 20s through their early 40s, and in women who have at least one child.*
The only way to treat PMS is with medication.
Fiction. If your PMS isn’t so bad that you need to see a doctor, you can feel better by making some simple lifestyle changes. Exercise, eating healthier foods, avoiding salt, sugar and caffeine, and getting ample sleep can all help ease PMS symptoms.
The best treatment for cramps is lying down and resting until they go away.
Fiction. Exercise can actually make your cramps feel better. Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. This type of activity may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it’s probably the best thing to try.
Certain vitamins and minerals can help relieve PMS symptoms.
Fact. Folic acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin B-6 can all help ease various monthly symptoms.
PMS makes women mentally unstable.
Fiction.Plenty of women who suffer from PMS are also counted in the ranks of the accomplished, talented and successful (Just a little crampy, maybe). Time to lose the old-school hysteria myth.