We of­ten blame those aches, pains and moods on our pe­ri­ods. But could it be some­thing more se­ri­ous?

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Cover Reads - BY SASHA GON­ZA­LES

How to tell if that pain is due to PMS or not.

Pre­men­strual syn­drome (PMS) can strike like clock­work ev­ery month: Back­aches, headaches, bloat­ing, fa­tigue, ir­ri­tabil­ity and anx­i­ety are all signs that your pe­riod is on the way. Dr Kelly Loi, an ob­ste­tri­cian and gy­nae­col­o­gist from the Health & Fer­til­ity Cen­tre For Women, says PMS symp­toms are cycli­cal. “They fol­low a def­i­nite pat­tern, oc­cur­ring be­fore the men­strual pe­riod and get­ting bet­ter once the pe­riod starts,” she says.

She sug­gests keep­ing a “men­strual diary” and re­view­ing it reg­u­larly with your gy­nae­col­o­gist to track the symp­toms and un­der­stand your cy­cle bet­ter. You can record your symp­toms, your mood be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter your pe­riod, the du­ra­tion of your bleed­ing, whether the bleed­ing is heavy, and so on.

The causes of PMS are un­clear but Dr Loi says it is re­lated to the hor­monal changes that oc­cur be­fore your pe­riod. Th­ese changes af­fect each woman dif­fer­ently, so some ex­pe­ri­ence more se­vere symp­toms. If you’re prone to stress and de­pres­sion, it may make your PMS worse.

Af­ter giv­ing birth, some women re­port that they no longer ex­pe­ri­ence PMS symp­toms, but for oth­ers, it ac­tu­ally be­comes worse. This is also be­lieved to be due to hor­monal changes, says Dr Shiv Gill, a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner from My Health Part­ners Med­i­cal Clinic.

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