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Why does Sara suffer from severe mood swings before each period?

Sara, every month, just before menstruating, undergoes major physical and mood changes. Is this natural or should you worry about it? Let’s get into the details.

If you feel identified with Sara, this article is for you!

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that appear a few days after ovulation and disappear hours after menstruation has started . It manifests itself with cyclical changes in mood, behavior, emotions and physical health, which can alter the activities of daily life and the woman’s health.

It most often occurs in fertile women , usually between the ages of 20 and 40, and is more likely after their first pregnancy . If it occurs in the 40s, or in women with anxiety disorders, depression, or psychiatric problems, the manifestations may be more severe.

The most severe form of the syndrome is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder , and it affects about 5% of women of childbearing age. It is a form of syndrome in which the premenstrual symptoms are so intense that they affect the woman’s daily life (work, activities, social relationships,…).

What are the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

PMS presents with unexplained behavioral changes , but it’s not just limited to mood swings, it can also manifest with breast tenderness, strange food cravings , anxiety, acne, tiredness, and moodiness.

In addition, it can also upset the body’s digestive system , causing nausea, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea, or disrupt sleep patterns, decreased sexual desire, fear, sudden crying spells, and difficulty concentrating .

Something to keep in mind is that premenstrual syndrome can exacerbate the symptoms of other diseases , especially if they are chronic diseases. Among these pathologies that can be exacerbated are chronic asthma, seizures or epilepsy, headaches or migraines, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and anaphylaxis (allergies).

What causes premenstrual syndrome?

There are several factors responsible for PMS, such as cyclical hormonal changes, changes in the brain and depression, although it can also be due to an unknown cause.

Hormones fluctuate during the different phases of the menstrual cycle, and PMS signs and symptoms have been observed to disappear after menopause or during pregnancy. This shows that hormonal fluctuations may be partly to blame for PMS.

On the other hand, serotonin is a neurotransmitter related to mood and behavior. Inadequate levels of serotonin may cause some of the symptoms of PMS, such as mood swings, sleep disturbances, and tiredness.

Is it possible to treat premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome can be treated with various methods , such as general measures, drug treatment, and sometimes surgical treatment.

Among the general measures that can be tried to relieve symptoms are, a good rest (sleep at least 7 hours every night), regular exercise (reduces swelling, irritability, anxiety and insomnia), avoid stressful activities, o perform relaxation and meditation techniques (they help relieve anxiety, mood swings and behavior changes).

It is also important to have a healthy diet , which provides us with the necessary nutrients and minerals to keep us in shape. It’s also important to increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, protein, high-fiber foods, low-fat meats, and foods high in calcium and vitamin D. Cutting back on certain foods and beverages can also help, such as caffeinated beverages, fried foods, or canned or highly salted foods.

If despite everything, the symptoms do not improve, you can seek pharmacological treatment through your doctor. Anti-inflammatory drugs (to relieve pain and inflammation), diuretics (to reduce fluid accumulation, and thus swelling), hormonal contraceptives (to regulate hormone levels in the body), and , in the most severe cases, antidepressants (to reduce irritability, depression and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome).

In extremely severe cases and as a last resort, if drug treatment fails and PMS symptoms worsen, it can be treated with surgery . With the removal of the ovaries, the menstrual cycles are eliminated, and therefore, the symptoms of PMS stop appearing. Even so, ovarian removal supposes the appearance of the effects of menopause; To prevent or reduce them, some doctors suggest that the operated woman continue with hormonal treatment until reaching the average age of menopause (around 50 years).

References :

Eske, J. (2019, 29 de Mayo). What to know about premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Medical News Today.
Higuera, V. (2022, 28 de Enero). PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms, Treatments, and More. Healthline.
‌Macrovector (s.f.). Flat pms woman composition with menstruation tools and woman with a headache [Free Vector]. Freepik.
Pinkerton, J. V. (2021, Febrero). Síndrome premenstrual. Manual MSD.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (2022, 25 de Febrero). Mayo Clinic.
‌Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (s.f.). Office on Women’s Health.

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