Salamat Dok: PMS: It's that time of the month!

Yam dela Cruz, Multimedia Producer, Salamat Dok

Posted at Feb 27 2012 06:26 PM | Updated as of Mar 05 2012 05:51 PM

If you think that it’s only during menstruation that some if not most women get cranky, ill-tempered, then it’s not. The common phrase “it’s that time of the month” is more suited before the red flag is up – the pre-menstrual period.

It’s mostly during this period when women show signs of irrationality – otherwise known as “pre-menstrual syndrome.” It’s funny how some people (mostly men) associate the catch phrase “Be afraid. Be very afraid” when they know it’s that time of the month.

What is Premenstrual Syndrome?

Salamat Dok program hosts, Alvin Elchico and Bernadette Sembrano, had a fruitful interview with Dr. Sharon Mendoza, an OB-Gynelogist and one of the avid supporters of our weekly medical missions.

“Premenstrual Syndrome happens 5-10 days before menstruation. It’s a combination of emotional and physical changes due to sudden drop in level of hormones among women,” explains Dr. Mendoza.

Physical Symptoms

• Stomach upset, sometimes diarrhea or constipation
• Cravings especially sweet and salty foods
• Headache, joint and hip pains
• Heavy and painful breasts
• Arthritis feel
• Feeling fat
• Tiredness
• Pimples

Emotional Symptoms

• Being cranky, ill-tempered or irritable
• Mood swings, crying spells
• Difficulty concentrating
• Anxiety or depression
• Less social, less active
• Sleepy

The image you see above is the normal or ideal menstrual cycle of women with regular monthly period which occurs every 28 days. However, experts say it’s normal for some women to have a cycle that is shorter or longer.

“During the ovulation period, there’s a sudden increase of estrogen and progesterone hormones. After this period, it suddenly drops. These condition triggers mood swings,” adds Dr. Mendoza.

The emotional symptoms especially mood swings and depression are hard to control. Others can’t really bear take it.

Dr. Mendoza says, “Depression is normal and identifiable as PMS if it only happens every cycle. If not, it could be another thing – a disorder.”

What to do to lessen the symptoms

The physical and emotional symptoms of PMS can be reduced or prevented. Here are some tips from Dr. Mendoza:

• Lifestyle change. Eat a balanced diet. Avoid salty foods as it invites fluid retention that leaves you feeling bloated and fat.
• Exercise for two and a half hours for the whole week. Do moderate to intense aerobic exercises. Or you can engage in brisk walking, jogging, stretching or toning exercise at the gym.
• Practice small frequent cravings every 3 hours.
• Have enough rest and relaxation.
• Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
• For severe cases, do not take antidepressant as it is addicting. Stick to lifestyle change.

They say women are difficult to understand. When women are in this period, some even remark, “Next mood swing …. 6 minutes!” Some label it as “Psychotic Mood Shift”; others put it as “Punish Men Severely.” There are a lot of funny images in the internet about how men perceive women with PMS but this particular graphic connects to the expert’s advice.

The message is this: Women store a lot of tolerance to cope with the daily stresses of life. But if one suffers PMS, it somehow decreases and women become less patient with the world. Dr. Mendoza suggests, “It’s hard. That’s why it is very important that family, friends, coworkers, and all the people around these women who suffer from PMS understand what she’s going through to avoid stress factors that sometimes leads to tension.” – Episode Writer: Rea Tiama, Episode Researcher: Jerome dela Cruz, aired January 7, 2012