These are common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a group of mild to moderate symptoms that occur in the second half of the menstrual cycle:
•Cramps (lower belly or lower back pain);
•Bloating (belly feels puffy);
Symptoms vary from one woman to another ¬but the causes have been tied to hormonal changes and a woman’s response to them.
There is no actual cure for PMS, but its physical side can be relieved with pain relievers, hot compresses, and diuretics. Its emotional manifestations are more disturbing ¬– affecting relationships, work, and quality of life. Antidepressants are given for more severe conditions.
Switching to a healthy lifestyle is recommended to manage mood swings and improve a woman’s state in the weeks before menstruation.
•Exercise increases endorphins. Walking, running, bicycling, or swimming boosts energy and lessens cramps and bloating.
•Frequent small meals are better to keep the blood sugar levels steady than two or three big meals. High carbs cause sugar swings while low sugar is associated with crying spells and irritability. Have regular healthy meals with less salt and drink lots of fluids.
•Supplements like calcium lower depression, mood changes, and fatigue. Vitamin D, E, B1, B2, B6 and Omega-3 fats are worth trying.
•Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sweets two weeks before the period. Caffeine increases anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia while alcohol is a known depressant.
Stress is a disruptive part of PMS and worsens it. Rest, sleep, and relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing are also effective treatments. Journal your symptoms for any pattern or progress. If symptoms persist, consult your doctor-gynecologist.