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Women's Health

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5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Period

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5. PMS is still a mystery. continued...

But believe it or not, doctors don’t know exactly what triggers it. It seems to be a mix of hormone changes during your menstrual cycle, chemical changes in the brain, and other emotional issues you might have, such as depression, that can make PMS worse.

What’s more, once you get your period, the rollercoaster may continue: One study found that period-related pains such as cramps, bloating, backaches, and headaches can cloud your thinking, because the pain may make it harder for you to focus on the tasks at hand.

So what’s a gal to do? Lifestyle changes are usually the best way to fight back. Aim to get about 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, get 8 hours of shut-eye per night, and don’t smoke. Your diet will make a difference, too, so fill up on fruits, veggies, and whole grains while you limit salt (hello, bloating) as well as sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.

Let your doctor know if PMS is keeping you from doing what you normally do, or if you have symptoms of depression or anxiety. You may have a more serious condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) that needs medical attention.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on October 21, 2015
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