What are some of the subtle changes caused by pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)? A simple online search will reveal symptoms like weight gain, pimples, back pain, and so much more. I am familiar with most of these symptoms as I have been cursed to experience most of them.
When it comes to pre-menstrual syndrome, I mostly feel like I have seen it all! Ranging from random bouts of depression, paranoia, and weight gain. Thus, it was quite surprising to notice a symptom I had never experienced before.
A Surprising Change Caused By Pre Menstrual Syndrome
It was a Tuesday morning, and I was about to put on some sun sunscreen before heading out to work. As I applied the sunscreen to my neck region, I noticed a dark patch on my neck. As expected, I was alarmed. I pride myself as a skincare girlie and always make sure I moisturize my whole body!
On my to work, I browsed on what might cause darkening of the neck! Besides being a skincare girlie, I pride myself on being a certified Google doctor. As we all know, google can make you feel like a simple headache is actually caused by a large tumor in your brain!
As expected, various sites on Google stated that Acanthosis Nigricans could cause darkened necks. I was not a bit surprised to discover that Acanthosis Nigricans can be caused by type 2 diabetes and stomach cancer, amongst other things.
I refused to believe that I was suffering from some type of stomach cancer or type 2 diabetes. I informed my colleague at work about this darkening of the neck, and he casually dismissed it as I was not moisturizing my neck regularly.
I was obsessed with this darkening of my neck and took my colleague’s diagnosis more seriously by moisturizing my neck frequently. A few days later, I got my period and turned my worries into the dilapidating menstrual cramps I was facing. Once I was done with my period, I remembered my previous obsession with the darkening of my neck, just to find out that the darkening had almost cleared out.
My motto in life is, just like the police, google is your friend! Hence, I started to browse darkening of the neck can be caused by pre-menstrual syndrome. Unfortunately for me, there weren’t enough studies on the relationship between the darkening of the neck and PMS. The only study about it was reviewed by the National Library of Medicine on Catamenial Hyperpigmentation. The studies stated that Catamenial Hyperpigmentation is changes in skin pigmentation patterns related to the fluctuation of estrogen and progesterone receptors during menstruation.
The article was quite lengthy and filled with lots of medical jargon. I got bored after reading a few lines. However, my suspicions were confirmed; it is medically possible that PMS caused the darkening of my neck!
Well, it was a relief to learn that I was not suffering from Acanthosis Nigricans, which can be caused by stomach cancer and type 2 diabetes! Again, I wish to reiterate Google might scare the shit out of you, but ultimately, it is your friend!
More on Subtle Changes Caused by Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
I am very much aware that not all women will experience the darkening of the neck as PMS. Let’s look at some other subtle changes caused by pre-menstrual syndrome that are not often talked about.
Below are some common subtle changes caused by pre-menstrual syndrome:
1. Anxiety, Depression, and Restlessness
Almost everyone woman can relate to this! On this very day, I was filled with so much anxiety and fear! Usually, I pride myself on being quite self-aware, and I was perplexed as to why I could not pinpoint the cause of my anxiety. Something pushed me to check my period counting app, and I was relieved to learn that my period would be due in a few days’ time. I muttered to myself in relief, “PMS will not be the death of me!”
2. Weird Dreams
Are you surprised the weird dreams all fall in the PMS category? Well, you shouldn’t. Apparently, there is something called Pre menstrual dreams, and they are generally weird.
A vast body of research suggests a link between the pre-menstrual — or luteal — phase and an increase in sleep disturbances, including insomnia. While the link is not completely obvious, doctors believe vivid dreams may be a side consequence of hormone shifts.
Here are some ways to deal with pre-menstrual dreams:
- Sleep for seven to eight hours every night.
- Avoid sleeping in late to “catch up” on sleep.
- Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided close to bedtime.
- Engage in quiet activities as close to bedtime as possible.
- Maintain a cool and pleasant environment in your bedroom.
3. Breast tenderness
I do not consider even consider breast tenderness as a subtle change, as most of my female friends experience the same. Most often than not, the state of your breast will inform you beforehand if your period is drawing closer. When experiencing this, I limit my use of bras to only when it is absolutely necessary.
4. Acne flare-ups
I have lost count of how many conversations I have started with. ‘oh, you are breaking out. Seem like your period is drawing closer.’ In hindsight, I shouldn’t just casually point out stuff like that. But most often than not, it usually breaks the ice and gives me and the person in question something to talk about.
5. Constipation or diarrhea
Again, this is quite a common pre-menstrual symptom. In some cases, it even runs into your period! Oh, how I detest period diarrhea. It is so messy and uncomfortable!
I have lost count of how many times I have been tempted to call in sick as a result of pre-menstrual fatigue. Annoyingly, the fatigue is coupled with bouts of depression! I find myself staring at the ceiling, decapitated by fatigue and too worn out to even pick up my phone and call in sick. I am very convinced that I am a superwoman because I eventually found the strength to make it to work with such crushing fatigue.
7. Weight gain
This is also a very common pre-menstrual syndrome. Yes, you are likely to gain extra pounds before or during your period. Research shows that the additional weight usually goes away a few days after your period begins. Hormonal variations induce period-related weight gain. It might be related to water retention, overeating, sugar cravings, or missing workouts because of cramps.
How to deal with pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)
Below are some practical ways to deal with PMS
- Reduce bloating and the impression of fullness by eating smaller, more frequent meals.
- To prevent bloating and fluid retention, limit your intake of salt and salty meals.
- Choose complex carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Choose calcium-rich foods. A daily calcium supplement may assist if you can’t stomach dairy products or aren’t receiving enough calcium in your diet.
- Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.
- Most days of the week, engage in at least 30 minutes of vigorous walking, cycling, swimming, or other aerobic activity. Exercise daily can assist in improving your general health and reduce symptoms such as weariness and depression.
- Get enough sleep.
- To relieve headaches, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping (insomnia), try gradual muscle relaxation or deep breathing techniques.
- Vitamins Supplements: Calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B-6 have all been claimed to relieve symptoms. However, research is sparse or non-existent.
Conclusion: Subtle Changes Caused by Pre-Menstrual Syndrome
Finally, before you get overly anxious about certain changes in your body, do well to consult your period counting app or calendar. Practice self-care always, as that is one of the most practical ways to deal with pre-menstrual syndrome.
You got this!