• Nicole Deziel, RN

WTF is PMS?



Premenstrual symptoms (PMS) refer to a cluster of signs/symptoms about a week before your period. A.k.a. The nasty stuff that makes us say… “oh I'm getting my period.”


READ: irritability, depression, tender breasts, fatigue, cravings for foods, mood swings, tension or anxiety, joint or muscle pain, abdominal bloating, mood swings, fatigue, acne flare-ups, change in sex-drive, poor concentration, social withdrawing or crying spells. Yeah, all that fun stuff.


3 in 4 women experience PMS.

Severe symptoms can indicate Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder. Are you thinking… sorry, what? PMDD is essentially the big sis of PMS. Symptoms are exaggerated and include severe irritability, tension, anxiety, anger, difficulty concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, depression, mood swings, and anger.


When should you talk to a doctor?


When PMS affects your ability to carry out activities of daily living or quality of life. Unlike STIs, there is no magic test for PMS. However, should you have symptoms for at least 3 periods that end four days into the period this may be PMS.


What causes PMS?

a) Hormones (think: progesterone and estrogen)

b) Neurotransmitters. SEROTONIN.

c) History of depression or mood disorder

d) High levels of stress


Diem take... Like the rest of women’s bodies, PMS is complex.

MINOR PMS? Lifestyle modifications may do the trick.

  • Adequate sleep

  • Regular exercise

  • (can we do an arrow down) sugar/salt

  • (arrow down) alcohol/caffeine

  • (up arrow) fruits/veggies

  • breathwork/meditation

  • Hot water bottle for cramping

Moderate to Bad PMS?

Those lifestyle modifications are 🔑 but sometimes extra TLC is indicated.

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDs) can help with cramping and discomfort.

  • Hormonal contraceptives can be useful, but worth an extensive chat with your doc about your hormone levels, underlying conditions, and WHY hormonal contraceptives will help treat your symptoms.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: utilizing mental health resources can empower you to manage your symptoms.

  • Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs): if you find that your mood/anxiety levels are affecting your quality of life, worthwhile to have a chat about continuous use or use of SSRIs leading up to your period. Other medications referred to as anxiolytics can be helpful as well.

To conclude...

Self-care is a luxury and its particularly important when you are feeling less than fab. We recommend keeping a log or journal of your symptoms throughout the month so that you can notice triggers/patterns of your mental or physical health changes. This log is also particularly useful when going to the doctor to discuss your experiences.


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