The teen years are hard enough without having to worry about getting your period and the symptoms that may come along with it each month. Some teens seem to experience severe PMS symptoms while others have few symptoms. Some of that may depend on your risk factors like family medical history and then also what you are putting in your body, as well as what you may not be putting in your body that it needs.
This is a checklist of possible symptoms of PMS and how to recognize them:
- Bloating and weight gain. Do your jeans feel tighter as your period approaches?
- Tension, anxiety or crying spells. Do you find yourself overreacting to stress? Do you get angry easily just before your period?
- Depression. Do you feel sad for no reason? Feeling down for a few days is normal, but if it lasts longer than a few days you may need to talk to your mom or doctor to get some help in feeling better.
- Breast tenderness. Do your breasts hurt when touched? Does your bra feel tighter?
- Food cravings. Do you want chocolate, potato chips or other foods (particularly salty or sweet foods)?
- Joint or muscle pain. Do you wake up feeling sore even though you haven’t done anything strenuous?
- Nausea or vomiting. Does your stomach feel upset, even though you're not eating anything different or have the flu?
- Headache. Do you have a pattern of headaches before your period?
- Trouble with concentration. Is it harder to study or pay attention in class?
- Fatigue. Do you feel tired early in the day? Do you feel exhausted when you get home?
If you make some simple changes you may notice a huge difference in your symptoms. It may take a few months for some of the changes to reach their full affect, but you will be surprised at how much better you can feel. Here are some things you can do to avoid or relieve PMS symptoms:
- Eat more frequently, but make your portions smaller.
- Increase your calcium intake up to 1,200 mg a day, but some dairy can make symptoms worse, so you may want to use a supplement.
- Increase your magnesium intake up to 200mg per day with diet or supplement.
- Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grain foods.
- Reduce the amount of salty foods and refined sugar, especially during the 7 to 10 days before your period begins.
- Cut out the caffeine, which can worsen irritability and breast tenderness.
- Drink low-fat milk, eat low-fat yogurt, cheese and other calcium rich foods.
Exercise can greatly reduce your feelings of fatigue, depression and irritability. You should get about 20 to 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week in order to make a difference in your health and could include a brisk walk, a short run, a bike ride or even sports practice.
Reduce your stress levels. Be sure to get adequate sleep. Many teens do not get the 9+ hours of sleep needed to feel their best. You may be surprised by how many symptoms can be lessened when you get enough sleep.
Also, no matter how busy you get with school, activities or a job, take time to do something fun and enjoy yourself— see a movie, hang out with friends, read a book for fun.
You can also use Ibuprofen or Tylenol for pain and to reduce some other symptoms like headache. If you try these steps for a few months and there are not significant changes in your symptoms, you may need to contact your doctor for a visit and see if there is anything else they could do to help relieve your symptoms.