There are many factors that play into how the female reproductive system finds its balance through the hormonal throws of menstruation. The effects PMS has on the mind and body are different for everyone and vary by individual.
If you feel like you have it worse than others, know you're not alone.
As Oprah would say, instead of asking yourself "what's wrong with me?", we urge you to redirect your self-inquiry to consider what's actually influencing your personal experience, which we've outlined for you below.
What influences your PMS experience
- Iron deficiencies. When your body is iron-deficient, your energy and hormone levels tend to be lower. This is why many doctors recommend women who struggle with painful periods and PMS symptoms take iron supplements while menstruating.
- Hormones. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that your uterus releases during menstruation. If your prostaglandin levels are high, then you're likely to experience excessive cramping and pain.
- Genetics. Genetic predisposition also plays a part in your menstruation experience. If your mother or other female predecessors in your family lineage struggled with painful periods, the more likely you are to inherit that.
- Medical conditions. There are several medical conditions that can add stress to your endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is what regulates your body during menstruation and other times of hormonal fluctuation. Common conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and adenomyosis are just a few that can exacerbate painful PMS.
- Stress. One of the most commonly experienced conditions and arguably the most influential on hormone regulation, stress can severely impact the sensation of menstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms.
- Lifestyle. If you have a poor diet, lack of physical activity, or smoke cigarettes, you aren't doing your painful periods any favors. These are examples of small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact on your ECS.
How to manage symptoms
The bad news is you have little control over most of these factors. On the bright side, the good news is there's a safe, accessible solution to managing painful PMS symptoms that's just a few clicks away.