The period conversation has grown much louder in recent years (a change that was long overdue), but despite the increase in public awareness and knowledge, myths about menstrual cycles abound. Specifically, myths about premenstrual syndrome (PMS) seem like they’ll never be buried.
Take a moment as the expert OBGYNs at New England Women’s Healthcare in Woburn, Massachusetts, debunk three common PMS myths — and cover three interesting PMS facts.
Myth: Every woman experiences PMS
The truth: Nope. While it might seem like every woman you know gets moody before her period, plenty of women sail through their entire menstrual cycle with ease. Plus, other life circumstances can cause mood changes, of course.
Fact: About 3 in 4 women experience PMS
See? We told you it wasn’t everyone — just almost everyone! The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health estimates that about three-quarters of women with periods experience PMS.
Myth: PMS isn’t real; women make it up as an excuse for bad moods
The truth: PMS refers to a cluster of symptoms, which includes mood swings and low moods. Many people with periods experience bona fide bad moods during PMS, whether they’re fighting anger and irritability or isolation and depression.
If you experience moods so low they sideline you from your normal activities or obligations, consider talking with your OB/GYN about premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which can cause severe mood alterations and affect your ability to function.
Fact: PMS symptoms get worse as you age
The HSS Office on Women’s Health reports that PMS symptoms worsen for many women as they get older, peaking in severity in your 30s and 40s. This makes plenty of sense, considering many women in their late 30s and 40s are in perimenopause, the transition to menopause during which your hormone levels fluctuate and drop significantly.
Myth: You have to avoid exercise when you’re PMS-ing
The truth: Actually, you should exercise if it makes you feel better. Exercise, especially gentle physical activity like walking or yoga, may ease some symptoms of PMS, such as abdominal cramps or headaches. Plus, the endorphin rush that comes with exercise can put you in a better mood if you’re feeling down.
Fact: Certain vitamins and minerals might ease PMS symptoms
It’s true! Research shows that calcium and vitamin B6 can ease PMS symptoms such as cramps, irritability, bloating, anxiety, fatigue, cravings, and depression. Studies have found mixed results for magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, but the evidence is too inconclusive to recommend these supplements as relievers of PMS symptoms.
Are you struggling with PMS symptoms? To talk to a qualified professional who can help you navigate PMS, visit our Woburn, Massachusetts, clinic. Make an appointment by calling 781-787-3003, requesting a time slot online, or sending a message to our team.