PMS is a group of biochemical changes that happen to a woman before the onset of her monthly period, and has far ranging effects on both mental and physical health. Enduring premenstrual syndrome or PMS can be tough for some women. While the majority of women experience mild symptoms (75%), 8% of those who reported severe symptoms experienced a reduced quality of life (1).
One of the symptoms that women go through during PMS is fatigue. It can affect how women go about their daily lives.So, knowing how to deal with it before it comes around each month can minimise the impact it has.
In this article, we’ll learn more about PMS fatigue, what happens to the body because of it, and how to cope with PMS as a whole.
From the name itself, the symptoms of PMS or premenstrual tension (PMT) occur around 4 to 10 days before the period starts and stop when the bleeding happens (3). To confirm if a woman has PMS, a doctor should assess the pattern of the symptoms: they must be present 5 days before a period for at least 3 cycles in a row, should end within 4 days after the period starts, with typical interference in normal activities (4). Taking down all the symptoms during menstrual cycles can help doctors identify the condition a woman is encountering and provide proper care.
The exact cause of PMS is unknown but there are several factors that may come into play. One is the changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. Hormones are depleted once menstruation happens (5). Estrogen, Progesterone, Serotonin and Dopamine levels may rise and fall, causing an imbalance. This disproportion has ensuing effects manifesting as breast tenderness, mood swings, fatigue, erratic sleep cycles, etc. PMS disappears after pregnancy and menopause (5).
Another factor that affects PMS is the chemical changes in the brain (3). The hormone serotonin or happy hormones can trigger PMS symptoms (5). This is where fatigue comes in. The feeling of tiredness and lack of energy can happen when the amount of serotonin is insufficient. It can also affect sleeping and eating habits, as well as mood swings.
While premenstrual syndrome or PMS has different symptoms depending on the person, it normally involves the general feeling of tiredness or lack of energy. So when and why does it happen? Is it normal to feel fatigued during PMS?
PMS fatigue is both a physical and emotional state of being unwell, making it a complex symptom (1) to grapple with every month. A common misconception is that when you’re tired, you simply need to rest or sleep. When you’re fatigued, however, the feeling stays despite adequate rest.
Fatigue and PMS fatigue share the common physical symptoms of headache, sleepiness, and tiredness, as well as having muscle and joint soreness and weakness. You may also experience moodiness and irritability.
Although several factors and some of the related symptoms have been identified, there are still other known symptoms for PMS.
Physical symptoms, such as bloating, cramps, breast tenderness and swelling, acne, hot flashes, and increased appetite are also present during PMS (1). Aside from that, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and lower sex drive can also be seen (1).
While these symptoms are commonly experienced by women with PMS, they still differ from woman to woman. A woman may not experience all these symptoms, but the doctor would still diagnose her condition as PMS.
Women endure PMS at varying intensities but one of the similar indicators of it is fatigue. Here are some tips on how to address not only fatigue but PMS as a whole.
It’s helpful for women to track their menstrual period as doing so has a lot of benefits. Through tracking, a woman can predict when she is fertile, what stage of her cycle she is in and what symptoms she may experience. Tracking gives you time to prepare for the possible discomforts of PMS and allow you to adjust your social activities and lifestyle to ensure you’re are prepared for any exhaustion that may slow you down. It also helps doctors provide timely and accurate advice for your condition.
Having an exercise routine helps both the body and mind. It improves mood by raising serotonin levels (6). Exercise prep like stretching can also provide better sleep as well as reduce cramps and aches (7). Aside from working on tired muscles and joints, having a boost of energy also helps with PMS fatigue. A study has shown that regular exercise reduces fatigue and increases energy levels as it improves overall wellness (8).
It’s recommended to at least have 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week to see the results (6). Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel exhausted and need to rest then do not force intense exercise, instead, opt for a gentle stroll or some yoga in the days leading up and during your period.
To minimise the effects of PMS fatigue and other symptoms, you can also improve diet, avoid alcohol, and quit smoking. These are some of the easier steps that have a big impact on general health and wellbeing.
Eating less salty, fatty, and sugary foods reduces bloating and weight gain. The simple idea is to eliminate all those activities that relate to causing less energy or feeling of tiredness (5). Adding more fruits and vegetables and whole grains also ensures you’re getting the nutrients you need (1).
Supplements such as magnesium and vitamin B complex have been seen to improve PMS symptoms (5). Looking into vitamins and other medicines with your doctor can further improve the fatigue that women experience during PMS.
Having the right mindset on what to do with PMS can help manage its effects. Being active, eating the right food, and following your Naturopath or GP’s advice can make a difference. Adding essential nutrients to the diet also supports these next steps.
Vitable is one of the supplement subscription companies that provide high quality vitamins for your health goals and needs. It allows clients to create their custom multivitamin packs for their health concerns and preferences. It also offers a vitamin delivery service for your convenience.
Whether it’s to aid PMS fatigue or respond to other health issues, get the best vitamin packs in Australia with Vitable and start your healthy journey today.
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.