PMS, also known as "pre-menstrual syndrome", is an often talked about and at times, joked about subject. For some women this can be a very serious if not debilitating condition.
PMS is a series of physical and emotional symptoms directly related to a woman's menstrual cycle. As many as 90% of all women suffer from some sort of PMS to varying degrees. Some of the symptoms of PMS can cause discomfort that ranges from mild to extremely painful. Bloating, cramps, stress, insomnia and mood swings are some of the symptoms that accompany PMS.
One of the most common complaints of PMS is bloating. Bloating is a feeling of tightness or fullness in the abdomen. Bloating is caused by hormonal changes that take place in a woman's menstrual cycle. It usually will occur just before and during a woman's period. It causes gas and fluid to move more slowly through the digestive system due to the higher levels of hormones. Some cases are mild causing only a slightly full feeling with minimal water retention in fingers and abdomen. Other cases of bloating may cause a significant weight gain due to fluid retention; women have reported gaining as much as 20 pounds in a 24 hour period. If bloating is constant or persistent it may be that there is an underlying condition that is not related to the menstrual cycle.
Bloating with PMS, while very common, can at times be serious. Serious bloating may be caused by a medical condition other than PMS. If bloating is persistent, common, or extremely painful, it may be advisable to seek the advice of a healthcare professional. Many gastrointestinal conditions can cause bloating that is mistaken for PMS. Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly known as IBS, is a disorder of the intestinal tract that can cause painful bloating. Another medical condition that is often first recognized by severe and persistent bloating is Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease is an inflammatory gastrointestinal disease that causes inflammation in the abdominal region.
The symptoms of bloating during PMS can be treatable with a few changes. Women who suffer from PMS bloating are often advised to reduce their sodium intake, as sodium can contribute to fluid retention. Natural diuretics such as vitamin b-6 can be used to ease water retention. Some doctors will also advise an individual to eat more slowly, causing one to swallow less gas, which causes bloating. Ibuprofen is often recommended to help ease the discomfort and cramping that is associated with bloating.
Though bloating with PMS may often occur on a monthly basis, it is important for each woman to make note of any changes in her cycle or symptoms. Some changes are often signs of a much more serious condition. If any persistent or painful symptoms are noted it is advised to seek medical treatment.