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Mood swings and cramps are common premenstrual symptoms, as are gas and bloating. But have you also experienced loose motions before periods?
Most women suffer from PMS, but get on with their lives as they are not long-lasting and subside in a few days. But for 2-4 in 100 women, the quality of professional and social life starts to get affected because of the severe nature of the symptoms. Keeping a record of the symptoms in a diary can help the doctor to understand if you have PMS, as there are other conditions that can mimic the diagnosis. That includes irritable bowel syndrome or a thyroid disease.
The exact cause is yet to be established, but several factors may contribute to the condition:
The levels of hormones change during menstrual cycle and some women are more sensitive to these hormonal changes, which can lead to the symptoms.
Fluctuations in the levels of a variety of chemical substances in your blood called neurotransmitters such as serotonin and GABA, are also thought to trigger these symptoms.
These are the chemical substances which are released in the blood just before the periods. They cause contractions in the intestines which can cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea.
Women who have depression or anxiety disorder suffer these symptoms more frequently, though the exact cause behind this is not known.
Incorporate lifestyle changes:
* Eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce bloating and the sensation of fullness
* Limit salt and salty foods to reduce fluid retention
* Choose complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains
* Eat calcium-rich foods. Calcium supplements can be taken if dairy products can’t be tolerated
* Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Try to do 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, swimming on most days of the week
* Healthy sleep routine goes a long way in reducing the symptoms related to hormonal imbalance
* Meditation and yoga depending on personal preferences
* Talk to others who have been facing the similar problems (support groups)
* Drink plenty of fluids to make up for the fluid loss from diarrhoea.
* Consume food items rich in fibre such as banana, apples and oats
* Consume natural probiotics like yoghurt, curd
* Stay away from spicy and oily food for few days
If the symptoms are severe and the quality of life is being affected even after lifestyle modifications, see your doctor as these could be due to underlying gastrointestinal condition that worsens during periods.
Take medications only when suggested by the doctor. Oral contraceptive pills, NSAIDS which include Ibuprofen, antidepressants are the few medications which might help relieve the symptoms.
Although symptoms like bloating, gas and loose motions are common before periods, they should not be ignored. These can masquerade as other problems at times which needs to be addressed effectively.
Treatment, information and support are available to enable you to manage your symptoms and move forward with your life.
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