Is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Real? | Madge the Mag | Scary Mommy

Madge the Vag Gets Real About PMS

January 24, 2019 Updated April 14, 2020

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Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS, are the physical and emotional symptoms that you can get right before your period. Symptoms include period cramps and/or the feeling of being tired, bloated and irritable. Sounds like a blast, right? Subscribe to Scary Mommy: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScaryMommyTV

WATCH: What Is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

In this video, Madge sits down with gynecologist, Dr. Ruth Tessler, to get answers on what to expect when you have PMS. In this interview, Dr. Tessler explains the symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) like bloating, headaches, mood swings and of course, cramps.

Cramps are caused by hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which are formed in a cascade in your uterus. The formation of prostaglandins is what causes contractions and in effect, cramp your style. Thankfully, you can avoid cramps, according to Dr. Tessler. She recommends taking a non-steroidal drug, such as Ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil, but you have to take it before your period. So track those calendars and hope you’re regular! 

Besides cramps, many women experience mood swings when they’re PMSing. It’s like your emotions are at the playground and hanging out on the swing set, except this kind of swing is not fun. But what causes these PMS mood swings? Dr. Tessler explains that your hormone levels shift. Early in your cycle you are more laden with estrogen, and then later in the month progesterone, at a certain point they switch and that can set off your moods. Geez, estrogen and progesterone, stay put! Why all the change?

Although PMS can strike at different times for everyone, generally it starts some time after you’ve ovulated mid-month and before your period. If you’re lucky, PMS symptoms hit the road once the blood starts to flow.  PMS is like the old family car going on a road trip — here for up to two weeks and then gone until it needs something from you and comes back again. Stay out of town, PMS!

PMS can be worse for some of us than others, but when is it a problem that warrants a trip to the doctor? Dr. Tessler says there is a condition called PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). It is defined as a significant mood swing during the second half of your cycle that is so extreme it’s disruptive to your life. If this applies to you, talk to your gyno. Simply, taking the birth control pill may make all the difference. 

Until we hit menopause (that’s a hormone story for another day), PMS will always be with us and often get worse with age. Wine may get better with time, but PMS doesn’t! To relieve symptoms, try your best to live a healthy and clean life – say goodbye to smoking cigarettes and say hello to exercise! 

Series Description:
Madge the Vag is a quirky mom on a mission to spread (literally) the word on everything vagina. She may have a 1950s wardrobe, but approaches women’s vaginal health in a refreshing way that is very today. Madge highlights a taboo topic or challenging issue many women face but may be afraid to talk about. She interviews experts on a range of topics like public hair, yeast infections and sex.

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