Premenstrual syndrome

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INTRO

This is an important topic that barely gets the recognition it deserves. I bet a good number of ladies constantly struggle with pms symptoms and have no clue of what they are actually dealing with. It is pretty saddening if I am being honest. 

Who really do we blame for the ignorance? 

Something I have come to realize about the world we live in, is that the struggles women face on a day to day are unfortunately trivialized and most times swept under the carpet.

Just the other day, I watched a video where a Kenyan woman ( a senatorial member) spoke her truth loud and clear with intense anger and frustration. Apparently she had been shamed for having a “fake”  menstrual mishap during one of their senatorial meetings. Yes guys, fake because she orchestrated it to create the necessary awareness on period/pad poverty in her country. Apparently a lot of girls/ women in the world we live in, go through things as bizzare as period shame. 

Like how guys? How can one be shamed for something naturally experienced by all women? The appalling part of the whole situation is that the women who should understand her plight were the same ones castigating her. 

From their ridiculous behavior, you would start to wonder if these women don’t have periods too.

Then we have the unapologetic men who behave like they fell from the sky without mothers and sisters. Shaming a lady for getting stained with menstrual blood is unacceptable!

Mistakes do happen! I have heard some insensitive people say……” didn’t they know they were on their period? Why didn’t they prepare well.”

Charle sometimes, regardless of how you prepare, a heavy flow can mess even the classiest of ladies up. The one that pissed me off the most was an occasion where a vulgar conductor embarrassed and reigned insults on a lady for having a period stain in his bus. Now I am not saying ladies shouldn’t tidy up after themselves when these things happen yeah, but at least some empathy would be nice for a change. 

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Let’s even leave the actual period and look into what some women go through before the menstrual period.

What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

This is a complex of symptoms including emotional and physical changes often accompanied with fluid retention experienced by some women in the days preceding the commencement of their menstrual bleeding. These symptoms usually appear about a week or two before the bleeding starts. 

Did you get that guys? It is something women battle before the period starts. So, asides the actual menstrual cramps and discomfort women face with their period, some also suffer from PMS.

Trust me, even as a medical student, I never really understood PMS until the first day I experienced it as a Youth corper. 

The events of that day remain fresh in my head, like it was yesterday. Fam, it was my Community development service day (CDS) and I woke up with tender breasts. It was strange, annoyingly painful and frustrating to say the least. I was confused. Yes, I knew my period was around the corner, but I was more in line with the almighty acne (pimples) sounding the trumpet of entrance on my face, Eleyi tun yato (this was different). It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I actually think I cried that day. Mehn, women are strong and unique beings, no cap.

Please resist the urge of complaining that women are celebrated too often because they certainly deserve their flowers! 

Of course, I am not here to school you on this subject matter, but my mission is to enlighten you in the most basic manner. Let’s get into the symptoms of PMS.

Causes and Symptoms of PMS

If I am being honest, the cause of premenstrual syndrome is not explicitly known, however, hormonal level changes during the menstrual cycle has been the major culprit.

Then again, some women are more affected than others. Each woman’s symptom could be world’s apart and vary from month to month. This I can testify to because my symptoms do vary. 

What are these symptoms?

  • mood swings
  • Crying spells
  • Insomnia 
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue 
  • bloating/ fluid retention
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • headache
  • Acne flare ups
  • changes in appetite and sex drive
  • Lower back pains
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Poor concentration 
  • Change in Libido

Now, not all of these symptoms are present always. The symptom severity could also vary. While some women have it real bad with an inability to function properly, others could ride with the symptoms without a halt in their day to day activities. The big question is…. How does one combat Premenstrual syndrome. 

Management of Premenstrual Syndrome 

If you have observed anything about my medical posts, you would notice that I shy away from making drug prescriptions for any form of ailment. Reason being that, it is still always best to see a health professional physically as opposed to self medicating. 

I can only make actual drug prescription for a patient I have clerked and examined in a clinic or hospital setting. 

That being said, there are other measures that may prove useful in eliminating Premenstrual Syndrome aside medications. These are the measures I would be bringing to your notice today. 

  1. Dietary modification: What you consume, could actually go a long way in helping to reduce PMS symptoms. Ensure to eat smaller, more-frequent meals as much as possible to reduce bloating and early satiety. It is also helpful to reduce salty food intake as this would help to combat fluid retention. Foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods would do your body much better. Also, please avoid caffeine and alcohol to the bearest minimum as they could be considered precipitants. 
  2. Exercise Regularly; This is a point I have personally tested and noted to be highly effective. On months that I exercised regularly, I could almost say I had nil PMS symptoms as opposed to months where I didn’t. It is great to engage in at least 20-30minutes of brisk walking, cycling, or other aerobic activities 3-5 days in a week. Regular daily exercises could help alleviate certain symptoms, such as fatigue. Yoga could also help. 
  3. Reduce stress: Reducing stress would forever have great health benefits guys. There is no need to overflog this particular point. Also ensure to get adequate sleep, about 6-8 hours a day is great.
  4. Know your Menstrual cycle: This post wouldn’t go without advising my ladies out there to track their menstrual cycle and keep themselves informed. You can only tackle something you are expecting and making preparations for.

Symptoms of PMS usually fizzle out 4-5 days after the bleeding commences. If symptoms however persist or become aggravated, please make sure to consult your physician. 

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