A Vicious Cycle: Menstrual Cramps Can Put a Damper on Sex

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Premenstrual syndrome, also called PMS, is real. It affects the quality of life for millions of women, yet too many women do not realize there are ways to battle this problem. Begin by identifying the specific symptoms you experience.

Typical symptoms include fatigue, depression, irritability, angry outbursts, cravings for sweet and/or salty foods, headache, abdominal bloating, anxiety, confusion, difficulty with concentration and/or memory, swollen hands or feet, tender breasts and tearfulness. These are all normal and due to the effects of the progesterone in your system.

Luckily, most women with PMS can receive effective treatment that is more natural and much less expensive. First, you must keep a daily diary or chart of how you feel over three months. If you have PMS, your symptoms must concentrate on the seven to ten days preceding your period. Next, keep a log of the dates you experience certain symptoms. These charts will enable you to predict the onset of your internal warfare and help you plan ahead for its effects.

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Plan positive sexual times for you and your husband for the two weeks leading up to your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your PMS, plan for the type of sexual encounter that would meet your needs and help relieve your stress during that difficult time. During those difficult two weeks, make time in your schedule for extra rest.

Schedule a walk and talk time together to occur before your sexual time. Begin your actual physical time with a relaxing bubble bath or a warm shower. Planning for your PMS will reduce the damage to your sex life and increase your partner’s understanding.

It might also be possible to treat your PMS. Nutritionists and medical researchers recommend avoiding fat, sodium, alcohol and caffeine, increasing fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains, and drinking eight to ten glasses of water a day. Some nutritionists recommend avoiding red meats and dairy products and including a daily intake of safflower oil and Evening Primrose Oil. In addition, aerobic exercise is necessary.

Exercise is thought to stimulate the release of ankephalins and endorphins, neurotransmitters responsible for a person’s sense of well being. They need to be elevated in women who have PMS. Some doctors encourage taking a vitamin or mineral supplement.  After taking supplements for a month or two, many women find that it relieves mid to moderate symptoms.

The exact cause or causes of PMS are unknown. Most professionals agree that PMS is a real physical disorder and not just part of being a woman. Many researchers have shown that whatever the cause it rests within the woman’s ovaries. PMS symptoms abruptly stop when ovaries are removed or inactivated by drugs or disease. The issue may lie in the progesterone, a natural hormone released at and after ovulation. The effects it has causes all the symptoms of PMS and early pregnancy.

For cramping and muscle aches, try over the counter NSAID pain relievers such as Aleve or Motrin-IB.

If one brand is not effective, try another. People can react differently to these medications. Be sure to follow the suggested dosages on the bottle. In addition, the new therma wraps work well and so do heating pads. Use there on the lower back or where you are feeling the muscle aches.

Finally, large muscle exercises can relieve stress and help with depression. Walking, jogging, swimming or bike riding can relieve many symptoms. Avoid food cravings. Folklore says it that if you crave something, your body must need it. That is simply not true. Much of the fatigue in PMS is the result of rapidly rising and falling blood sugar levels. Eating four to six small meals a day, rather than three, can help stabilize glucose levels.

Avoid high sugar foods like candy, sodas, and chocolate. The same avoidance goes for alcohol and caffeine products. Alcohol acts like a sugar and caffeine adding to the general stress and anxiety levels. Avoid salty foods like cheese, soups, smoked meats and fish, nuts, soy sauce and Oriental foods, as they are all high in salt. Your body only stores salt water. The kidney easily excretes plain water. Drink lots of plain water to aid in bloating and water retention.

By adjusting your diet, adding exercise and taking a few supplemental vitamins and minerals most of you will do very well. For others with more severe symptoms, there are progesterone supplements. The good news is that you can do something about the spectrum of symptoms of PMS. You can gain back your self-control. You can fight and win your battle to lessen and even eliminate PMS from your life.

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Ken Shim says:

Acupuncture can do wonders for PMS symptoms as well. There are numerous studies showing its efficacy in treating headaches