Crankiness, tiredness, depression and feeling low, are some symptoms that haunt women nearing their menstrual cycles. Forty-four per cent of premenstrual women undergo physical changes like tenderness of the breasts, lethargy, constipation, food cravings, headaches and digestive problems. While 60 per cent of women suffer from pre-menstrual syndrome, 32 per cent of them have severe problems like depression, postpartum depression, fluctuations in hormones and muscle and joint pains.
The tendency of pain is more among women nearing the age of 40, or those in the pre-menopause stage. Perimenopausal hormonal imbalance, especially oestrogen, is a very common cause for bloating, pain and even lethargy. Women who are in their early 40s experience these changes for 15 days before their cycle. Explaining this further, Dr Manjula Anagani, chief gynaecologist and obstetrician, Maxcure Suyosha Woman and Child Hospital, says, “There are many women, who complain that they feel very bloated a few days before their regular cycle. This is because the hormone oestrogen is important for maintaining the right amount of water and bile in the body. As these levels begin to change, the body tends to store more water. Other causes of bloating can be poor dietary habits and serious health issues like Crohn’s disease. If bloating persists for more than two weeks, approach a doctor for underlying health issues,” she warns. “Many women also complain of severe urinary inconsistency during their PMS phase. This is because oestrogen deficiency reduces the support to the bladder and this leads to recurrent urinary inconsistency,” she explains.
Those who suffer from PMS must keep in mind that eating junk food, intake of caffeine and fat laden foods, and skipping meals is a terrible combination, as it only increases uneasiness and pain in the body. Instead, reduce salt and sugar intake, for it will help in controlling fluid retention, and the latter will also prevent obesity and diabetes. Excess of refined sugar during PMS is found to increase lethargy and exhaustion, and also makes one feel constantly hungry.
Several studies have indicated that regular exercise helps women suffering from these symptoms. Explains Dr Suma Hari Prasad, senior gynaecologist with Prasad Hospitals, “Moderate exercise like brisk walking, light running, yoga and functional training in the gym helps boost blood circulation in the body and makes one feel better. It is also very important that women opt for essential vitamins and minerals which play a huge role in maintaining overall health of the body. Symptoms of PMS are reduced when micronutrients like calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamins are taken to meet the body’s needs. It helps to fight depression, improve digestion problems and also plays a vital role in pain sensitivity.”