Disproving Common Misconceptions
According to Menstrual Hygiene Day, over half of women in the US have experienced shame about their periods. Talking about menstrual cycles is thought by many to be taboo. This has resulted in there being many misconceptions about the topic.
There are some crazy PMS myths out there like that a menstruating woman can't make sushi or drink milk from a cow. Many countries around the globe have interesting beliefs and views about menstruation. While some of these myths might sound bizarre to you, there are common ones present here in the United States.
Dispelling myths about periods and PMS are important to normalizing talking about the topic. This guide will discuss the top six myths about PMS.
6 Myths About PMS
According to Helping Women Period, the average woman spends around a decade of her entire life on her period. That equates to around 450 periods during her lifetime.
While there are many interesting menstrual cycle facts, there is also a lot of incorrect information circulating out there. Let's discuss some of the most common myths about PMS.
1. Everyone With a Period Experiences PMS
One of the most common menstruation myths is that everyone with a period has PMS. This myth stems from the misconception that any symptoms you have before your period are connected to PMS. Just because you're experiencing some premenstrual symptoms doesn't mean they're PMS.
PMS is a medical diagnosis of more than one symptom that includes both physical and emotional discomforts. Some women experience PMS symptoms that are low to moderate in intensity. If these symptoms don't have a major negative impact on their life, from a medical perspective, it's not considered PMS.
When many women use the term "PMS" to define their premenstrual side effects, they're referring to their individual symptoms, not a medical diagnosis. For example, a headache that happens before a woman gets her period might be uncomfortable but won't have a major impact on her daily activities. The headache would be considered a mild or moderate premenstrual symptom.
A recurring episode of extreme fatigue, insomnia, or depression might have a significant impact on a person's well-being. These episodes could be considered PMS.
2. All PMS Symptoms Are the Same
According to the Mayo Clinic, PMS has a wide range of symptoms and side effects. Around three out of every four menstruating women have encountered a form of premenstrual syndrome.
Some of the physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of PMS include:
- Depressed mood
- Appetite changes
- Change in libido
- Muscle or joint pain
- Abdominal bloating
PMS symptoms vary from woman to woman. You might get physical or emotional symptoms. You might sometimes get both. As women age and approach menopause, their hormone levels will fluctuate. Their PMS symptoms might change or worsen over time.
If you're not close to menopause and you're noticing a significant change in your PMS symptoms, you might want to make an appointment with your healthcare professional. It could be a sign that something else is going on with your body.
3. PMS Makes Your Moody
Many women out there have likely had a bad day that put them in a bad mood. Raise your hand if someone around you has asked you, "Is it that time of the month?"
Just because you're moody doesn't mean it's connected to PMS. The premenstrual experience isn't negative for every person, despite what the media, society, and culture suggest. It's more common for people to discuss the negative aspects of the premenstrual phase.
Negative moods are often connected to fluctuations in your hormones. However, the premenstrual experience and bad moods don't go hand in hand for every woman.
4. There's No Way to Relieve Symptoms
There are many ways you can manage your PMS symptoms. One of the things you can do is to eat healthily. Making positive changes to your diet can have a significant impact on your PMS symptoms.
You should eat a diet that has a lot of the following foods:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables like leafy greens
- Healthy fats
You should limit the number of saturated fats and processed foods you eat. These types of foods can cause bloating, which is a common PMS side effect.
You should also try to exercise regularly. Exercise can help boost your mood and increase your energy levels. Regular exercise is a great way to reduce your stress levels as well.
You can also explore various natural supplements to relieve your PMS symptoms. There are different types of supplements that are best suited for your PMS symptoms.
If you're interested in incorporating some supplements into your daily routine to mitigate your PMS symptoms, you should speak with your healthcare provider. Some of the supplements shouldn't be taken at the same time as birth control. You also don't want to get too much of a certain nutrient.
Oral contraception (birth control) can also alleviate some PMS symptoms. The pills include different hormones, like progestin and estrogen, that can help regulate your cycle and reduce your symptoms.
5. PMS Is an Excuse for Bad Moods
While hormones play a significant role in a woman's menstrual cycle, they aren't the primary reason for being in a bad mood. Your overall physical and mental health have a bigger impact on your mood than your menstrual cycle.
As a woman's hormones fluctuate, it can cause shifts in her mood. In the two weeks leading up to a woman's period, her progesterone and estrogen levels change considerably.
A woman's serotonin levels can fluctuate as well. Serotonin is also known as the "happiness" hormone. Changes in your serotonin levels can have an effect on your mood.
Women can sometimes feel like they're not in control of their emotions, which isn't a great feeling. It's important to keep in mind to try to stay in control of your mood as much as you can. PMS isn't an excuse for being in a bad mood.
Being aware that you usually experience mood swings as your roster of PMS symptoms is half the battle. Figuring out a plan on how to reduce them is the next step.
Be kind to yourself during these times. Track your symptoms and do what you can to practice self-care. While exercising is important, don't push yourself if you're not feeling up for it. Do gentle movements like yoga or a walk instead. Find support from those around you to have positive discussions about what you're feeling.
6. PMS Is Worse When You're Younger
One of the most popular menstruation myths is that PMS symptoms are worse during your younger years. The severity of a woman's symptoms can change from month to month. As we mentioned earlier, the changes get more noticeable the older you get.
In your 20s, your PMS symptoms might be worse. PMS can be more unbearable early and late in a person's reproductive years. That's because her hormones are fluctuating so much.
There are other lifestyle habits that women in their 20s might have that could make their PMS symptoms worse. This includes not getting enough sleep and not eating healthily. Fatigue and skin issues could be more difficult to manage in your 20s.
As a woman progresses into her 30s, her symptoms can start to ease and not feel as severe. Women in this age range could have fewer symptoms and they might not be as severe.
A few factors that might contribute to this include breastfeeding and pregnancy. Being pregnant stops your periods, and without a menstrual cycle, there's no PMS.
However, the 30s can be the worst decade for some women. A woman could've spent most of her 20s on birth control, only to stop taking them in her 30s. Her hormones could fluctuate dramatically, causing severe symptoms.
Many women see a return in PMS symptoms in their 40s as they reach perimenopause. Your period will start to become irregular as your hormone levels decrease.
PMS symptoms vary from person to person. There are multiple times in a woman's life when her symptoms might be severe, not just when she's young.
Dispelling Common PMS Myths
Talking more openly about menstrual cycles is a great start to dispelling many PMS myths. If you suffer from severe PMS symptoms, don't despair. There are many treatment options available to reduce your side effects.
Check out our store to learn more about how the Knowell supplement can help you.
For additional reading check out Menstrual Cycle Facts: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Periods.