PMS is the combination of signs and symptoms that occur periodically, as they are correlated with the menstrual cycle. It usually occurs in the days leading up to menstruation, from 7 to 10 days before the arrival of the menstrual flow and disappears with the onset of menstruation. The signs can be more or less accentuated and can greatly affect a woman’s quality of life; there higher incidence is between 25 and 45 years and it only affects women who ovulate. Premenstrual symptoms can often be similar to those of an ongoing pregnancy. How to tell if the symptoms are related to a period, pregnancy or a false alarm?
Although the cause is difficult to establish, it is believed that the main culprits are the ones hormones that in the last days of the cycle are fluctuating and slight variations can upset the whole body, hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, prolactin, aldosterone, endorphins, serotonin, prostaglandins and alterations of the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis.
The symptoms of PMS are so many that more than 100 have been described and their intensity is also very variable.
Only a few are considered the most characteristic, among the body disorders There are:
- feeling of bloating in the lower abdomen,
- breast pain and turgor,
- water retention,
- weight gain,
- sleep disorders,
- edema in the extremities,
- He retched,
- compulsive eating,
- hot flashes,
Between psychoaffective disorders There are:
- sudden changes in mood,
- crying fits,
- difficulty in concentration and memory,
Some women don’t exhibit no problem, about 80% of women feel symptoms of various types, more or less unpleasant, in 10-40% have more intense and sometimes disabling manifestations that can affect daily activities, while in 5% of women the typical picture of PMS occurs more disabling.
The premenstrual spotting, small blood losses that stain the briefs, is due to the fact that the endometrium does not always respond entirely to the lack of hormones, there are areas that respond earlier and the endometrium “detaches” earlier and there is an initial bleeding that does not it is abundant and therefore appears as a small loss usually brown in color.
Subsequently, the entire endometrium will detach and appear bleeding typical of menstruation.
What happens to the breast?
The otherwise responds to the continuous change of hormones throughout the cycle, each month prepares for a possible breastfeeding by modifying the structure of the mammary glands. The set of these cyclical hormonal changes results in an increase in the volume of the breasts reaches its maximum immediately before menstruation, such an increase in volume is accompanied by a increase in density, temporary lump formation and pain. After menstruation, the breasts reduce their volume and return to an initial state ready for a new cycle.
Digestive and urinary system
The digestive and urinary systems they respond to hormones and may behave differently during ovulation, the premenstrual period or during menstruation. This can lead to more frequent constipation during the premenstrual phase, or more frequent defecation during menstruation.
Many women have an increased tendency to edema, increase in body weight and contraction of diuresis in the premenstrual period, this probably due to the effects of estrogens on the urinary tract and on the body; during menstruation it increases instead diuresis.
The rest of the body responds to hormones and produces the whole range of symptoms seen above. If there had been a conception the signs would not change, only a few women, after discovering that they were pregnant, understand that some signs were caused by pregnancy and not by PMS.
Conception occurs shortly after ovulation and it takes about 7-9 days for the baby to arrive in utero and nest. Only after he has sketched the placenta and comes into contact with the maternal blood the pregnancy hormones will go into circulation, at first few and gradually more and more.
This is why in the first 2-3 weeks after conception, or 4-5 weeks after the last menstruation, the woman’s body still “does not feel” that she is pregnant, precisely because the amount of hormones in circulation they are the same as in PMS.
Only when the beta HCGs increase will they amplify some of the symptoms and cause others such as nausea. For this reason it is not possible to understand from the signs that the body sends whether it is or not a pregnancy occurs before the onset of menstruation.