Are my mood swings and headaches premenopausal symptoms? I'm only 37!
By Jennifer Viegas for Live Right Live Well
Don't worry, your symptoms are perfectly normal, and your sister's
not crazy. As most people know, it's not uncommon for mood swings,
headaches and a host of other symptoms to be linked to a woman's
menstrual cycle. This is usually referred to as PMS (premenstrual
syndrome). What's more, some women report that the closer they get to
menopause, the worse their PMS symptoms get, reports Ellen Freeman,
Ph.D., director of the PMS research program at the University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine. So while "premenopausal" isn't the
best way to describe your symptoms, this is probably all your sister
meant by it.
The good news is that while PMS symptoms may increase as you get
older, Dr. Freeman's research has found that they "are likely to
diminish around menopause and disappear altogether after menopause,"
In the meantime, simple lifestyle changes may
provide relief if symptoms are mild. Dr. Freeman suggests deep breathing
exercises, yoga, limiting alcohol and caffeine and eating a diet high in
complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice and whole grain breads and pastas. If
that doesn't do the trick, talk to your doctor about medication. Headaches
often respond to over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or
ibuprofen. For tougher migraines, your doctor may offer one of the newer
prescription "triptan" drugs. If mood swings are severe, a prescription
antidepressant may help. While it can be frustrating when PMS symptoms get
worse, relief is available and, best of all, they won't last forever.
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