Hormones can be really annoying- I think we all know that. The shifts and changes can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that can vary in severity.
Premenstrual Syndrome (or PMS) refers to symptoms that occur before menstruation happens-this is very common. Some people experience these symptoms after menstruation though and this is what is not talked about enough.
In this post, we will discuss the reality of post-menstrual syndrome existing.
About premenstrual syndrome
PMS refers to a constellation of symptoms that occur on the days leading up to one’s period starting (luteal phase). This syndrome can be found in medical literature dating back to 1931. It obviously has been around way longer than that, though!
This syndrome usually occurs seven days before a period begins but can be up to 14 days-right after ovulation. There are said to be 150-200 PMS symptoms that people have reported. The following are the most common ones:
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Loose stools
- Allergy flare-ups
- Acne and/or oily skin
- Mood swings
- Cravings and/or appetite increase
- Increased or decreased sexual desire
There are many more than what was listed and they can all range in severity depending on the person. If one has severe mood/mental issues before their periods, this is called PMDD. This diagnosis is devastating and can make life really hard.
Up to 75% of women experience at least one or more PMS symptoms and 5% of women experience PMDD.
The causes of premenstrual syndrome are not totally known even after all of these years. Experts do suggest though that the following are strong possibilities in terms of causes:
- Sensitivity to hormonal changes- Some may be more sensitive to hormones than others for whatever reason. This may cause the PMS symptoms to occur when the levels change in the days leading up one’s period.
- Diet- The possible diet-related causes include too much or too little of something, not eating enough calories, eating too many calories, drinking too much alcohol and having too much caffeine.
- Stress- Experiencing too much stress can effect one physically, physiologically and mentally. This in turn can cause hormone levels to get wacky and lead to PMS symptoms.
- Genes- There may be genes that cause some people to experience PMS.
It also could be that one has an actual medical condition that is mimicking PMS or making it worse. These conditions include thyroid disorders, mental health disorders, diabetes, PCOS, endometriosis, IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Postmenstrual Syndrome is real, too
People are so used to the idea that the week before periods start is when symptoms occur. There are many people who report uncomfortable symptoms right after their periods. This is really confusing to them because they think that they should be feeling great after they stop bleeding.
What they are dealing with is, postmenstrual syndrome. This condition needs to be talked about and recognized because it is real.
Postmenstrual syndrome is similar to premenstrual syndrome but it occurs right after menstruating instead. It can either last just a few days or go right up until ovulation. The symptoms are similar but there seems to be less of a range of them than what one can experience with premenstrual syndrome. Some of these symptoms are as follows:
- Sadness and/or crying episodes
- Cold/flu-like symptoms- Congestion, runny nose, sore throat and body aches.
- Increased appetite with or without cravings.
There are other symptoms that people may experience but the above ones are what have been reported by most.
Just like premenstrual syndrome- the causes of postmenstrual syndrome aren’t definitively known. The following are the proposed causes of postmenstrual syndrome:
- Stress- Same as premenstrual syndrome. Having a rough time mentally can also mess up one’s hormones.
- Diet- Same as premenstrual syndrome. A mostly unhealthy diet can cause rough hormonal symptoms.
- Insulin resistance- Some researcher suggests that having insulin resistance can cause postmenstrual syndrome to occur. It doesn’t even have to be full-blown diabetes.
- Sensitive to hormonal changes- Some people may just be sensitive to the type of hormonal change that takes place after the bleeding stops (testosterone and estrogen start to rise).
- Anemia from period- Anemia may occur after one’s period due to heavy bleeding or not getting the iron in one’s diet to replace the iron that leaves during menstruation. This can cause symptoms afterwards that are like premenstrual ones such as fatigue, muscle weakness, lightheadedness, headaches and brain fog.
- Anovulatory cycles- This is a type of cycle when one does not ovulate. Postmenstrual symptoms may occur with these cycles because our bodies get confused after having not ovulated like it was supposed to.
How to remedy both of them
Whether you have premenstrual or postmenstrual syndrome, there are things you can do and take that may make things better. The following are some remedies:
- Birth control: This is shown to help with premenstrual symptoms so it may help with postmenstrual ones, too.
- Spironolactone: This is a diuretic that is used for in many women with PCOS. It may also help with premenstrual symptoms such as acne, oily skin, bloating and breast tenderness.
- Antidepressants- These may be of use if mood issues are particularly bothersome during premenstrual and postmenstrual phases.
- Having a skin care routine- Finding products to use on a regular basis, may be able to reduce skin issues that can occur with premenstrual and postmenstrual syndrome. Pick yourself up some TruSkin Vitamin C Serum, a box of Mighty Patch (helps clear up pimples), a product with arbutin (for dark spots and scars) and a product with hyaluronic acid (moisturization)!
- Supplements- If you are into alternative medicine, some supplements may help with hormonal-related symptoms. These include zinc (these lozenges are the best for a sensitive stomach), calcium, magnesium and vitamin B6.
- Nausea relievers- If you are one of the unlucky ones to suffer with hormonal related nausea, there are some OTC things to take. Meclizine, B6 and peppermint herbal tea are great examples.
- Heated blanket– These are great for aches and cramps. They may also be calming to the mind.
- Diet changes- Lowering salt, lowering carbs and reducing caffeine intake may help with hormonal symptoms.
My experience with postmenstrual syndrome
Postmenstrual syndrome has been something I deal with every other month. It is annoying.
On these months, the two weeks before my period starts are a breeze. I am always tricked into thinking that I won’t experience any hormonal symptoms I am used to but…nope! I still do, it is just afterwards.
What happens is that my period will end on day four and then day five is when the PMS starts. Here are all of my symptoms:
- Cold-like symptoms that make me think I have COVID
- Upset stomach
- Heart palpitations
- Chin zit
- Oily skin
- Sadness and quick to tears over random things
- Really itchy legs
So basically my postmenstrual symptoms are pretty much the same as my premenstrual ones. Although taking Claritin and Pepcid for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome has helped some with the intensity levels of my symptoms-I am still not where I want to be symptom-wise.
Maybe someday I will have this all under better control!
Postmenstrual syndrome exists, you are not crazy
This syndrome just isn’t talked about as much as premenstrual syndrome. It really should be though.
If you find yourself having similar symptoms after your period ends-you are not imagining things. You are not alone either.
Have any of you dealt with postmenstrual syndrome? Let’s get this discussion going!
Thanks for reading!
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