Your guide to PMS and how to handle it
When you start your period (or maybe even a li’l before), it’s possible that you will experience PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Here’s your guide to some symptoms you might experience and how to handle ‘em like a pro.
The Symptom: Crampy
What to Do: A common side effect of having your period, especially during your teen years, is feeling crampy. You might find that all of your muscles are a little achy, or that you have sharp stomach pains.
Advil, or, if the symptoms are stronger, Aleve are both good fixes. But you’ll probably find that if the pain is bad, the meds won’t help right away. Make sure you’re only taking the recommended dosage, but start as soon as you start feeling any cramps, and then stay on top of it by taking a new dose as soon as the pain begins again (but of course, only if you're within the recommended time frame that the bottle suggests).
If over-the-counter meds don’t do it? See a doc and he or she might be able to prescribe you something else. Also, heat often feels good when you’re crampy. So either try using a heating pad, which you can pick up at the drug store, or take a hot bath.
The Sympton: Headaches
What to Do: I have loads of experience with headaches, and I often find that they occur around my period, but are spurred by stress. If you tend to get stress headaches, make extra sure to chill out around your period.
As much as you may love it, dark chocolate is a headache-inducing food, so opt for milk or white. Stay hydrated, and a tiny bit of caffeine can also help.
Of course there’s the same medication that you would take for cramps, which should help your headaches as well. And the hot bath or shower that will soothe those cramps will also soothe your head.
The Symptom: Acne
What to Do: One of the most common side-effects of menstruation is a break-out. It could start several days before your period each month. The best thing to do is to anticipate your breakout and make sure to take extra good care of your skin before your period.
As soon as you see a pimple forming, use spot treatment and apply a hot washcloth to the pimple for a couple minutes in the morning and before bed. This will speed up the process and hopefully prevent the pimple from getting as big. Here’s a guide to handling acne.
The Symptom: Tired
What to Do: Some of us feel more tired during our periods, and it can be frustrating when you’re gettin' enough sleep, but still dozing off during algebra. Do make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, but instead of chugging soda or energy drinks, stay really hydrated with water or natural juice.
Make sure to eat healthy, protein-enriched foods that will keep your bod going, and if ya need an extra nap after school, give your body what it needs. But getting in a workout might have the same effect and pull you out of that slump.
The Symptom: Moody
What to Do: Periods are often blamed by guys for a woman’s bad mood, while it’s not always the case. But if you find yourself snapping at your friends or whining to your parents, you might actually be feeling this effect.
It’s important to acknowledge that you’re feeling abnormally moody and that it could be a result of your period. So when you start to get frustrated or upset at someone, take a sec to realize why you’re feelin’ that way, and let whatever is bothering you go, knowing you'll feel better in a few days.
I find that exercising when I’m feeling moody really helps—those extra endorphins go a long way. Even if you feel less motivated to work out during this time, it’s probably the most important time to get off your booty and sweat it out.
The Symptom: Emotional
What to Do: Find yourself totally inconsolable over a teary movie ending? Suddenly start bawling when someone gives you the littlest criticism, or when something doesn’t go your way leading up to or during your period? This could happen and you’re not alone. Sensitivity is a common symptom, too.
What can you do to keep from welling up at the slightest problem? Deep breathing is a simple but very effective tool. When you feel the waterworks comin’, take a few slow, deep breaths, letting them out slowly. It works.
If you need a stronger cure, pull aside your mom or your bestie and explain that you’re feeling a little extra emotional, but it would help to talk about what’s wrong. Letting out your frustration in a safe place (rather than, say, in the middle of the cafeteria) will make ya feel much better.