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