Just about every woman has experienced the dreaded premenstrual syndrome before their cycle begins. Not only does it make you moody and tired, you probably also feel bloated, among other things.
While PMS is usually harmless, it’s sometimes more severe. In fact, it could be a sign of another condition altogether.
Our expert professionals at New England Women’s Healthcare are more than ready to help you through your menstrual cycles. You can count on our OB/GYNs to get you a proper diagnosis when your symptoms are more severe than normal PMS.
If you’re like most women, you dread that week or so before your menstrual cycle every month. Between eating everything in sight and your roller coaster of emotions, you’re ready to be yourself again, and quick.
PMS causes many unwanted symptoms when your body is getting ready to shed your uterine lining. It usually occurs about 5-7 days before you get your period, and it disappears a few days after your cycle starts.
The symptoms associated with PMS are due to the changes in your hormones around the time of your menstrual cycle. When your hormones change, it causes your body to undergo changes that tend to lead to uncomfortable symptoms.
The symptoms of PMS usually occur around the same time each month, but they can vary in severity. You also may not experience all of the symptoms every month. However, if your symptoms are interfering with your life, it might be something more than just PMS.
Symptoms to keep an eye on
PMS has a range of symptoms that vary from woman to woman. Depending on your body and your cycle, you could experience one or two of these symptoms, or just about all of them. However, they can vary from month to month, so it’s important that you know the signs of PMS.
About a week or so before your menstrual cycle, you may begin to feel symptoms of PMS. These symptoms may include:
- Craving certain foods
- Weight gain
- Breast tenderness
You might also experience trouble sleeping at night, or you may struggle with tiredness during your day. You could also feel extremely moody, and go from crying to laughing in a matter of minutes.
While the above symptoms are typical of traditional PMS, other signs could point to another disorder, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). With this condition, your PMS symptoms are much more severe and may also include:
- Depression or severe sadness
- Heightened anxiety
- Extreme moodiness
- Intense anger
These symptoms usually add to your other PMS symptoms, but they’re very intense in nature. PMDD may lead to feelings of hopelessness or severe depression. This sometimes causes thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
To determine if you’re suffering from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, our team of doctors evaluates your symptoms over several menstrual cycles. This helps them determine when your symptoms begin and end, and how much they’re affecting your daily activities.
If our team determines that you’re also suffering from mood swings and anxiety or depression along with your other symptoms, they may diagnose you with PMDD. Because this disorder leads to problems with your mental health, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.
We offer several options to help you manage your PMDD symptoms. Some of the common treatment approaches include:
- Dietary changes
- Limiting alcohol and caffeine
- Stress management techniques
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Anxiety or depression medications
Our team may also suggest birth control pills to help even out your hormones and eliminate some of your symptoms. PMDD is a chronic problem that won’t go away on its own without treatment.
If you’re worried that you're dealing with PMDD, contact one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment with one of our providers using our online booking tool.