Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs when a woman experiences mild to intense physical and emotional effects a week or two before her menstruation. PMS occurs after the ovulation phase has ended, causing estrogen and progesterone levels to drop and create hormonal fluctuations. For most women, symptoms stop after four days of menstruation.
Some women won’t notice PMS, but others have PMS that is so severe it can prevent them from doing daily tasks. This is referred to as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Research suggests that 3 out of 4 women experience some form of PMS. PMS worsens the effects for women with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders. For some women, PMS may worsen as they get closer to menopause. However, all symptoms will stop after menopause.
- Breasts swell or feel tender
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Headache or backache
- Weight gain due to fluid retention
- Mood swings like irritability, hostility, depression, sadness, or being overly sensitive
- Feel more tension or anxiety
- Sleep pattern changes (sleeping too much or too little)
- Food craving
- Difficulty concentrating or memory
- Less interest in sex
- Social withdrawal
How to ease PMS
- Regular exercise
- Having a healthy diet most of the time
- Getting enough sleep
- Healthy ways to cope with stress, like journaling, meditating or talking with a friend
- Avoid smoking
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like Ibuprofen or Aspirin. If over-the-counter medicines don’t work, visit your doctor for prescribed medications.
- Foods containing calcium, like dairy products, orange juice, and fortified cereal & bread (made from processed grains)
- Food containing vitamin B6, such as fish, chicken, potato, fruit (except citrus fruits), and fortified cereal
Phases and their physical and mental effects
There are different 4 phases a woman goes through every month that affect her physical and emotional state.
Menstruation Phase: Day 1-7
This is when a woman is on her period. It is when a woman’s endometrial lining sheds and estrogen & progesterone are at their lowest level. During this phase, it is common to feel tired, withdrawn, and sleep more than usual.
Follicular Phase: Day 8-14
This is when estrogen and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) rise to prepare for ovulation. FSH helps regulates the menstrual cycle and stimulates ovarian follicles to mature the eggs. During this phase, it is normal to have lots of energy and an improved mood.
Ovulatory Phase: Day 15-21
During this phase, the luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen are at their highest, causing the release of the egg. LH works with FSH to stimulate the ovaries. This phase usually improves a woman’s skin, confidence, and sex drive.
Luteal Phase: Day 22-28
The luteal phase lasts from the end of the ovulatory phase to the beginning of the menstruation phase. During this phase, a woman’s progesterone levels rise. Progesterone is responsible for preparing the uterus to accept & implant a fertilized egg for pregnancy. This is when a woman’s energy decreases and cravings begin. In addition, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, anxiety, and moodiness also start.
Gynecological/Andrological conditions refer to issues with our reproductive and sexual organs, affecting our physical and mental health. Gynecology is a branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and physical care of a woman’s reproductive system. Andrology is a branch of medicine that deals with a man’s reproductive system and urological (dealing with the urinary system) issues. These conditions can also affect our mental health and can worsen the illness.
Gynecological/Andrological conditions also affect our mental health, such as:
For women: includes ovarian, vulvar, endometrial, uterine, cervical, and breast cancer
For men: includes testicular and prostate cancer
For more information on genital malignancies and the physical effects, click on: Malignancies in Men and Women – Letena Ethiopia
causes a range of physiological effects triggered by the person her/himself or by society’s judgment. A woman or man may feel angry, sad, ashamed, and hopeless, which is not eased by culture or community. If a man or woman cannot have kids, society deems their life missing a piece, causing depression. Healthcare professionals must be aware of their patient’s mental state to provide counseling.
A person with an STI can also face issues caused by judgment and excessive stress. When someone has an STI, people around them see them as unclean. This can cause people with STI to suffer from shame, sadness, nervousness, anger, or more.
Congenital Anomalies of Kidney and Urinary Tract (CAKUT): is when the kidney and other parts of the urinary tract are affected by abnormalities due to congenital disabilities but can become obvious only later in life. Some affected urinary tract features are the bladder, the ureters, and the urethra.
Gynecological/Andrological conditions can cause a person to experience anxiety, depression, shame & hopelessness, lack of appetite, anger, and more. One of the most important things to remember is to be aware, as it can help reduce negative feelings and increase positive ones or hopefulness. In addition, know how to self-regulate to prevent your emotions from getting out of hand and causing severe mental issues. Seek help from a professional or a trusted family member or friend if you get overwhelmed and don’t know what to do.