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PMS What is it and do you have it?
ASK LORI AND LIANE, January 2010, by Liane Knoll-Kowk
What is it and do YOU have it?!
I've had my period for a few months now and I started noticing that when I get it I cry a lot. Is that PMS? Aren't I too young for that? Am I stuck with this for the rest of my life?
~ Whaaaa! I don't want PMS, 12, Deer Island, NB
Dear Whaaaa :)
You might typically be a calm and easy-going person, but 1-2 weeks before your period you might find you feel grumpy and tired. You might sleep in and then yell at your mom for not waking you up on time. Little things that don’t usually get to you drive you crazy. Your brain doesn’t seem to hold as much info and you find you’ve forgotten half of your homework at home. You feel crampy, bloated and often near tears. You’re hair is limp and lifeless and you may feel gross. It seems the world is out to get you and no one understands!
The answers are Yes and No
Does some of that sound familiar? If so, then yes, to answer your first question you have some of the symptoms of PMS, (which is short for pre-menstrual syndrome). If you’re old enough to get your period, you’re old enough to have PMS. So to answer your other question, no, you’re not too young. Many girls feel under the weather just before they get their period. These symptoms are considered a 'normal' part of getting your period. Girls who actually are experiencing PMS can have more of these symptoms. The symptoms may be more severe, and they can have a major impact on school and relationships.
There are actually a total of 150 reported symptoms of PMS. The most common symptoms include mood swings, breast soreness, bloating, acne, cravings for certain foods, increased hunger and thirst, and fatigue.
So are we girls just victims of our hormones? Do we have any control over our emotions during this time at all? Are we forever destined to be moody and tired before our periods? We may not have control over when we get our period or what many of our symptoms will be like, but just like most aspects in our lives, we can choose the way we deal with the situation. There are many things we can do to decrease symptoms and feel better both physically and emotionally. Here are some suggestions:
Fit exercise into your daily routine.
Resist the temptation to jam out of gym class. Exercise does wonders for cramps and for your emotions. Keep as active as you can possibly be. Go for a brisk walk, it clears your mind.
Get enough SLEEP!
If you’re a teen, you need about 9 hours of sleep each night. Sufficient sleep also helps keeps stabilize moods. Try not to nap after school or in the evening but keep a regular sleep schedule.
Keep stress to a minimum.
If possible, try to schedule events that you think could be stressful during the week for after your period. Keeping up with your routines will also take some stress away.
Don’t over-think things or ‘sweat the small stuff’.
If something someone did or said is bothering you, address it in a couple of days. Make a mental decision to put some distance between you and emotional topics if you have a choice.
Do you keep track of when you had your last period and when to expect your next one? Some girls rely on their calendar and others just couldn’t be bothered. If you don’t know when your next period is, it will be hard to be aware of when to expect PMS-like symptoms. Try keeping track of your symptoms by writing them down in a journal. This will help you put things into perspective. What seemed so irritating or hurtful before your period might look completely different after your period. If you keep track of the date your symptoms might begin, the next time your best friend doesn’t save you a seat on the bus, you can stop and think “OK, did she intentionally try to hurt my feelings, or am I just ultra-sensitive right now because my period is due in a couple of days?”.
Sometimes the symptoms aren’t related to PMS.
If you’re feeling down in the dumps and hopeless and these feelings last longer than the week before your period, it’s probably not related to PMS. In this situation, it is important to talk to someone you trust like your mom. If it gets really bad, make an appointment to talk to your doctor, counselor or therapist.
Symptoms of PMS are not always the easiest to deal with and it sure doesn’t seem fair to deal with mood swings, physical discomfort and irritability (just to name a few). No one said it was easy being awesome!
Keep your feet on the ground!
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Liane Knoll-Kowk, Ask Lori and Liane, exercise, cramps, acne, hormones, mood swings, PMS, what is PMS and do you have it, crying a lot, 1 - 2 weeks before your period, bloated, limp and lifeless hair, symptoms of PMS, pre-menstrual syndrome, breast soreness, food cravings, brisk walk, get enough sleep, keep stress to a minimum, keep track of your cycle, discomfort