Us woman have to deal with a lot of physical changes in our lives. Some happen over the course of our lifetime, others happen quite rapidly (and dramatically) over the course of 9 months, but we also have those regular changes that occur on a monthly basis. During each menstrual cycle the hormonal changes that take place inside our bodies can have varying effects not only on our body, but also on our energy levels as well as our emotions. These changes are often something that you have to experience to really understand.
Men kind of have it easy in comparison don’t they!?
The hormonal changes that occur during the monthly menstrual cycle affect women in all different ways. How it affects you one month might not be the same as how it affects you the following month, just the same as how it affects you when you are younger might not be the same as it affects you as you mature into middle age.
These changes in hormones create an array of symptoms, some which might be very subtle and others that can be quite debilitating. The term ‘premenstrual syndrome’, or ‘PMS’, is used to describe the various symptoms that occur before and during menstruations as well as during ovulation.
Some of these symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Mood swings
- Headaches/ migraines
- Food cravings
- Breast tenderness
- Back ache
The hormonal changes can also aggravate pre-existing conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), asthma, chronic fatigue, epilepsy and other seizure disorders as well as different allergies.
Some women experience very serious symptoms and need the assistance of medication to help them deal with these hormonal changes. For the rest of us, the best and most effective way to reduce the severity of PMS is by adopting a healthy and active lifestyle. This includes regular aerobic exercise as well as regulating the amount of (bad) fats, sugars, salt, caffeine and alcohol we consume. The use of specific vitamin supplements can also be beneficial, such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin E.
So if you know that you struggle on a monthly basis, have a look at your diet and exercise regime and talk to your local naturopath or pharmacist about what you might be able to do/take to help ease your discomfort.