Periods aren’t easy! Having to contend with not only physical problems such as stomach cramps and bloating, but changes in mood and emotions. We are all affected by our periods in different ways but for some, the extent to which these changes affect their daily lives can be severe and have a negative impact on how they go about their day while their body prepares to have a period. It is important that we understand what is happening with our bodies and show solidarity for those that are currently having difficulties as it is likely that we will all experience problems like this at some point over the course of our lives.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
You have more than likely heard of PMS but did you know that it is believed that 3 out of 4 people will experience some kind of physical, behavioural or emotional change in the week or so before the period is due to arrive. This is what PMS is and the regularly reported symptoms (that you may have had yourself) often include some or all of the following:
- Abrupt changes in mood
- Struggling to regulate emotions with feelings of anger, being upset
- Stomach cramps
- Experience of being bloated
- Flared up acne or spotty skin
- Hair being greasier than usual
- Appetite changes
The reason these symptoms occur is thought to be because of hormones levels differing over the course of the menstrual cycle. Therefore, professionals have suggested that lifestyle changes may help manage these problems. These include: making regular exercise part of your routine, eating a balanced diet, getting your eight hours of sleep and taking painkillers for any pain experienced from the cramps or headaches. However, if these problems are persistent and interfere with your normal activities then contact your GP. They will talk to you about treatment options. For more information, check out the NHS website.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Those affected by PMDD experience the symptoms of PMS more intensely and are likely to be depressed during this time. It is shocking that roughly one in twenty women suffer from PMDD. It is believed that PMDD could be due to an extreme sensitivity to hormonal changes or that there is a genetic component to the disorder. However, the charity organisation IAPMD has been calling for more research of this disorder so treatment can be improved. Want to know more? Then the charity MIND has further details.
Emily Fazah, a campaigner, experienced PMS herself and began to learn more about it during the course of her difficulties so decided to begin Moody Girl. It is a platform for those who suffer from PMS/PMDD to discuss the issues they face as well as giving them an opportunity to support one another. We spoke to Emily about her experiences with PMS:
“Moody Girl was started after years of having nowhere to turn when struggling with my severe PMS symptoms. After what felt like an eternity of suffering in silence I decided to take action. I thought to myself ‘what if there are other women who are experiencing what I’m experiencing? How do I find them?’ this is when Moody Girl was born. I wanted to open a dialogue about severe PMS & PMDD and build a positive and inclusive community focusing solely on this. Now, through Moody Girl, we have an online forum that offers support to hundreds of women and our social media accounts are pushing to raise much needed awareness on these topics.”
Emily Fazah - PMDD campaigner
Check out the Moody Girl website and their blog where women discuss their experiences of PMS and PMDD.
Source: www.mind.org.uk, www.nhs.uk, www.moodygirl.co.uk, iapmd.org
Images: Pom Lette (designed for Moody Girl) pomlette.com