Post Menstrual Syndrome
How to Handle Post Menstrual Syndrome
The post menstrual syndrome (PMS) is very similar to the pre menstrual syndrome and an issue many women face. It describes a condition that can occur after (post) the monthly menstruation, but similar symptoms can appear before (pre) or even during the period.
Women experience discomforts shortly after their period, which is not only connected to physical pain but also mood swings and depression. About one third of women in child bearing age suffer from the post menstrual syndrome and it usually stops once the menopause kicks in.
Here is a list of symptoms that women may experience up to 2 weeks after their period:
- Weight gain due to fluid retention
- Nausea, vomiting and even fainting
- Stomach cramps
- Headaches, migraine and pain in neck, shoulders and back
- Ravenous appetite or loss of appetite
- Painful sensations of the breasts due to temporary hypersensitivity
- Vaginal pain during sexual intercourse
- Depression, anxiety and aggressive behaviour
- Mood swings, inexplicable crying or laughing
The connection between psychological issues and an irregular menstruation cycle has long been acknowledged. The hormones set free before, during and after the period are interlinked to an emotional reaction which are a large part of the post menstrual syndrome.
Although this is known, it is still unclear how this syndrome is triggered. While physical symptoms can easily be explained through the different processes that take place during ovulation, it seems to be difficult to understand why women experience a strong psychological reaction as well. The second part of the menstrual cycle seems to be the most problematic one where estrogens are produced while the amount of oestrogen is decreased dramatically. This change in the hormonal balance is cause for the post menstrual syndrome as there is a water retention that causes the swelling of breasts, legs, hands and feet.
Researchers have found that while the pain related to the hormonal imbalance may be cause for psychological reactions, it is unlikely to be the only reason. However, research has shown that women who suffer from another illness and have their period during that time are more likely to experience a heavy post menstrual syndrome. Similarly, an unhealthy lifestyle can enhance the negative effects such as smoking, excessive coffee drinking, lack of physical activity and exposure to environments with high pollution and toxic fumes. Stress, insomnia and infections can also negatively influence the menstrual cycle.
There are certain things women can do to avoid or at least decrease the intensity of the post menstrual syndrome. A few days before the period, women should avoid the intake of caffeine, nicotine and foods with a high amount of salt. Physical activity can reduce the amount of water that is stored after the period, and it should certainly be a regular activity and imbedded into the general lifestyle as women hardly ever feel like exercise during their menstruation. Women who suffer from the post menstrual syndrome have reported that relaxing forms of exercise help to reduce the stomach cramps and overall ease the menstrual pain. Worth trying are yoga, massages, baths and any other type of calm and relaxing therapy. It is also important to allow enough sleep and if your lifestyle is very stressful you must draw the line at some point in the evening and relax to enable your mind to switch off and have a good night’s sleep.
While these solutions can be helpful, some women still suffer very badly from the post menstrual syndrome and may need further therapy. Painkillers are obviously helpful when it comes to pain, but much more effective are hormonal contraceptives which maintain the balance on a continuous basis. There are also other types of hormonal therapies that your gynaecologist can carry out. Bear in mind, though, that these medications can be very invasive and before you consider them you should think about natural remedies such as herbal medicines. Psychotherapy is also a much healthier solution to the emotional tension and it should be considered a good alternative to anti-depressants.