Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Before a menstrual cycle begins, there are several symptoms that a woman should begin to notice. Unfortunately, these symptoms can vary widely from one person to another, so many ladies are left wondering whether or not their symptoms of PMS are normal.
What Are the Symptoms of PMS?
A majority of all women will experience one or more of the following in relation to premenstrual syndrome:
- Cramping of the lower abdomen
- Increased number of headaches or migraines
- Breasts that become swollen and tender
As a result of these uncomfortable symptoms, it is not uncommon for women going through PMS to become particularly irritable or anxious. Such symptoms may worsen with age and the addition of significant stress, but should never cause extreme pain or other debilitating symptoms.
Serious Conditions That Are Often Mistaken for PMS
Many women feel incredibly embarrassed to talk about their periods or even about the general state of their reproductive health. This unnecessary silence leads many to assume that their severe pain and discomfort is a regular part of having a menstrual cycle, rather than investigating other potential causes.
The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of conditions out there that can cause a woman to experience abnormal occurrences during her period.
The endometrial lining typically exists around the inside of the uterus, and helps to create a hospitable environment for the development of a potential fetus. Those with endometriosis experience growth of this unique tissue on the outside of the uterus, or even along other nearby reproductive organs.
This condition causes severe pain during menstruation, in addition to heavy bleeding, pain with intercourse, and more.
A fibroid is a solid, noncancerous ball of tissue that exists either on or within the wall of the uterus. These types of tumors occur in a majority of women, though many do not grow large enough to present any noticeable symptoms.
When a fibroid is large enough to cause problems, the individual will likely experience an unusually heavy flow, the release of large blood clots during their menstrual cycle, and localized pain of the lower abdomen or perhaps even the lower back.
There is a similar condition to fibroids called uterine polyps, which are soft tissue formations that produce many of the same warning signs.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a unique condition that causes an imbalance of hormones. This generally creates an overproduction of the male sex hormone, testosterone, or an underproduction of the female sex hormone, estrogen.
As a result of these hormone fluctuations, women with PCOS are likely to encounter menstrual cycles on a very inconsistent schedule. It is not uncommon for ladies with this condition to have fewer than nine periods per year.
When To Seek Specialized Treatment
All of the aforementioned conditions can be very difficult to diagnose without the help of an experienced physician who knows which types of tests to perform in order to accurately identify a cause to your abnormal menstrual pains. If you would like to schedule a consultation with our OBGYN specialists to discuss some of your concerning symptoms, please call our office location nearest you today for an appointment!