Mood swings, tender breasts, a bloated stomach, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression. These are just a selection of the symptoms some women have to deal with in the lead-up to their period – every month!
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a condition that has plagued menstruating women for almost as long as we can remember. In fact, it was even described as long ago as 500BC by Hippocrates, the Greek physician.
It’s estimated that around 50% of Australian women are regularly affected by symptoms of PMS. For some, these symptoms will be very mild. For others (about 10% of women), it can be so severe that it makes normal functioning during this time almost impossible.
Is it PMS?
Women with PMS are usually affected by both physical and emotional symptoms. These can vary from woman to woman and from month to month. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Weight gain from fluid retention
- Abdominal bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Tension or anxiety
- Crying spells
- Mood swings and irritability or anger
- Appetite changes and food cravings
- Joint or muscle pain
- Difficulty concentrating
These symptoms usually start anytime in the two weeks before your period and improve a few days after your period starts. You can tell whether it’s PMS by looking at when your symptoms happen. If they fall within this two week period then it’s quite likely that it’s PMS. A good way to keep track of your symptoms is to keep a diary record of them.