What is Post Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Updated: Sep 26

Do you know the feeling when your period ends but it doesn’t feel like it has ended? Even though you are not bleeding anymore, fatigue, mood swings and depression is still there. This stage of the menstrual cycle is called post-menstrual syndrome and 30-40% of women of their reproductive age experience it.

It isn’t as widely known as the premenstrual syndrome; this is caused by the lack of awareness and research on this topic. Still, there is some info on symptoms and treatment that we are happy to share with you.

tampons, perfumes and sakura flowers in a platter

What is Post-Menstrual Syndrome?

Post-menstrual syndrome is the continuation of period symptoms after your period ends. It is commonly confused with premenstrual syndrome because they have the same acronym. The main difference between them is that post-menstrual syndrome starts right after your period and its symptoms are mainly psychological.

What causes PMS after your period?

A number of things could be causing PMS such as hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and stress. Hormonal imbalances change estrogen and testosterone levels, which makes your body not quite understand your period has ended. So, the symptoms continue even though you are not on your period anymore.

If you are not getting enough nutrition and your body is lacking insulin, that can also trigger PMS. The reason for that is insulin greatly affects both estrogen and testosterone. Another thing that causes PMS is stress. The stress we feel can manifest itself as physical and psychological symptoms of the post-menstrual syndrome.

What are Post-Menstrual Syndrome symptoms?

Not everyone experiences PMS, but it is always a plus to be able to recognize when it happens. To identify what is happening with your mind and body you should learn about the symptoms. They can be examined in three groups: physical, psychological, and behavioral.

Physical symptoms of PMS

PMS can affect how your body looks and feels. After your period ends, your bloating and tenderness in your breast may continue. You can experience fatigue, headaches, and muscle aches. So classic period stuff which should have ended with your period but doesn’t.

Abdominal pain is also one of the symptoms, but it is important to note that it can also be caused by endometriosis. If you are experiencing it, we recommend you see your OB-GYN.

woman having abdominal pain

Psychological symptoms of PMS

Psychological symptoms of PMS are much more common than the physical symptoms. Many women who experience PMS reported that they suddenly feel depressed and full of anxiety. Which can of course affect their life quality.

Other psychological symptoms are mood swings and irritability. You can find yourself getting angry suddenly or you can cry over the smallest thing. Your happiness can fade into sadness for no reason. These sudden changes of emotions mean you are likely experiencing PMS.

Behavioral symptoms of PMS

Behavioral symptoms of PMS are very similar to the psychological ones, but these ones are about how you are showing yourself to others. Your loved ones can notice that you are acting differently than usual. You can hurt their emotions with your sudden outbursts, or they might not understand why you are feeling blue all of a sudden. Don’t worry you will be back to normal in 2 to 4 days, just try your best not to strain your relationships in the meantime.

Who is at risk for PMS?

PMS can be seen in every woman of their reproductive age. But there are some factors that make you more likely to have PMS. One of which is mental health problems. Women who have depression, PPD, polycystic over syndrome, and a history of trauma is at high risk. Other things that can increase your risk of PMS are stress, being overweight, and smoking.

Here is a surprising fact about PMS, it is most likely for you to experience it If you are white.

woman sitting down

How is PMS treated?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for PMS, not yet at least. The lack of research on this topic makes it hard to find a way to prevent PMS. Therefore, the things we will list below are not treatments but merely suggestions that can help you relieve the symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle changes

First of all, take note of all your symptoms. Knowing what they are is the first step to making them manageable. Then you can start changing your diet. A healthy diet is the key to a healthy body. When you get your period your iron levels go down. So, we recommend you eat iron-rich food such as spinach, meat, legumes, and quinoa. But you might want to cut back on coffee since it can lower your iron levels and make you feel stressed out.

Speaking of stress, the most important thing you should do is find a way to manage it. Stress puts you at high risk of PMS. Do whatever makes you feel relaxed, especially before your period. Meditation, yoga, and exercise can be beneficial for you. They can also help you balance your hormone levels.

a healthy, balanced meal

Taking supplements

As we mentioned before having a healthy diet is important to relieve PMS symptoms. This also includes taking supplements. Your body needs iron, magnesium, vitamin B, and E for different symptoms that might arise from PMS. Iron helps your body recover after a period. When you lose blood, you lose iron as well. Magnesium can help you with your mood swings, depression and it is also good for sleep as well. Who doesn’t feel better after a good night’s sleep? Vitamin B and E can help you with fatigue. By taking them, you will feel more energetic and ready to start a new day.

Hormone therapy

Hormonal contraceptives are a type of birth control that stops ovulation. In some cases, using birth control can help ease the PMS symptoms. Especially the ones that make you experience pain. It can also help you with your mood swings.

What are the myths about PMS?

For a long time, PMS was not seen as a real condition, it was a myth among women. Since many of them experienced different types of symptoms they were labeled as overdramatic. Their period was over, their bodies and minds should be back to normal but that was not the case. Now that we know that PMS is real, and they are not overreacting it is time for these myths to go away.

two woman exchanging sanitary napkins

PMS is not a real medical condition

The biggest problem with PMS is the lack of scientific research on it. Only a small percentage of women experience it. Also doesn’t happen every month. Women mostly experience PMS during the months they did not have premenstrual syndrome. Most of the information we know about it comes from people who experience it. Therefore, this led people to start questioning its legitimacy. Recent studies show that it is in fact a real condition and we need more sources to educate ourselves on this topic.

PMS is not caused by hormonal changes

You can experience PMS for multiple reasons, one of which is hormonal changes. Hormonal imbalances can cause many conditions in our bodies. It is widely believed that sudden changes in estrogen and testosterone levels are one of the causes of PMS. When those hormones go back to their normal levels, signs of PMS go away. Doctors also suggest that it is linked to the serotonin levels in our brains. Periods lower the serotonin levels and not enough serotonin circulating can trigger PMS.

PMS is just an excuse for bad behavior

As we stated before there are some behavioral effects of PMS. Your mood can suddenly change, and you can be more irritable than usual. These are caused by hormonal changes in your body. Of course, you should never hurt someone’s feelings on purpose, there is no excuse for that. But that doesn’t mean PMS is something people make up just to treat others poorly.

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