Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that many women are familiar with, but does it have anything to do with menopause? According to some experts, it does, and many women may tell you the same thing. Here’s what some of the research shows us and how to manage the relationship between menopause and PMS.
What is PMS?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a catch-all phrase for a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that affect a significant number of women one to two weeks before their period. The Office on Women’s Health notes that more than 90 percent of women report experiencing PMS symptoms. These symptoms (e.g., headache, bloating, mood swings, tender breasts, among others) develop as estrogen and progesterone levels decline and resolve within a few days after menstruation starts and hormone levels begin to increase again.
How is PMS associated with menopause?
According to a 2004 research article in Obstetrics and Gynecology, women with PMS were two times more likely to have hot flashes and mood swings as they entered perimenopause and menopause as women who didn’t have PMS earlier in life.
Another reality for many women is that PMS symptoms tend to get worse as they approach perimenopause, especially if their moods tended to swing widely during their menstrual cycles. The good news is that with menopause and the end of menstruation, PMS symptoms will finally go away.
How can you manage PMS with menopause naturally?
Lifestyle changes are the most effective way to manage symptoms of PMS that may occur during perimenopause and menopause. A sprinkling of natural supplements are also helpful!
- Exercise at least five days a week for at least 30 minutes. Movement really does improve your mood as well as help release endorphins
- Eat clean, nutritious food at every meal. Steer clear of processed and refined foods, which are packed with additives and other chemicals that can throw your hormones further out of balance
- Limit or eliminate alcohol from your life, as it can disturb not only hormone balance but sleep, digestion, and brain function
- Establish good sleep habits. You need 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep every night, especially during these transitional years.
- Consider calcium and vitamin D. Even if you eat a healthy diet, there may still be nutrients you are lacking. Vitamin D and calcium, for example, are two of the nutrients that women may not get enough of during this time of hormonal change. In a 2019 study, for example, the authors reported that “administration of calcium and vitamin D supplements or the use of a diet rich in these two substances can restore serum levels and eliminate or reduce the symptoms of PMS.”
- Work toward maintaining a healthy weight. Staying at a healthy weight can improve your emotional and mental health as well as your physical well-being.
- Try chasteberry. This herbal remedy has been shown to reduce PMS symptoms, including bloating, fluid retention, and mood swings.
- Do yoga. Recent research has shown that yoga is more effective in relieving symptoms of PMS than exercise. A few effective poses include Cat Pose, Fish Pose, and Bridge Pose.
when to call your doctor
If your PMS symptoms begin to affect your ability to perform your daily routines or they get worse despite your efforts to manage them naturally, consult with your doctor.
PMS symptoms may be part of your perimenopause and menopause experience, especially if you had them prior to entering this hormonal change of life. Lifestyle changes and supplementation can be helpful, and know that the symptoms should be gone once menstruation has stopped.