Over 90% of women say they have one or more premenstrual (PMS) symptom. Often, the symptoms are bloating, fatigue, cramping, headaches, and changes in mood. However, some women experience severe discomfort that can be a sign of something more serious, something more than PMS. If your cycle is causing disruption to your daily life, you may have a more severe condition, like endometriosis, PCOS, perimenopause, menopause, or PMDD. Here are 4 signs to watch and discuss with your healthcare provider.
1. Terrible cramping. If your cramps are causing vomiting, nausea, severe diarrhea, or numbness, it is likely more than PMS. It’s important to self-monitor and take notes; this can be easily missed as some cramping is normal in your cycle.
2. Abnormal period length. If your periods last longer than 7 days or less than two, it can be a sign of something broader than PMS. Additionally, if you are spotting in between periods, it is important to take notes, so you remember the patterns.
3. Really big emotional changes. As your hormones change throughout your cycle, you can experience changes in mood. However, if your ups and downs create an inability to go about your normal life, make sure you talk to your healthcare partners right away.
4. Hair loss, hair growth, or severe acne. Big hormonal changes can lead to an excess or shortage of specific hormones, causing hair loss, hair growth in new places, or severe acne. This can be a sign of severe fluctuations throughout the month.
It is important to not minimize something that may concern you or be out of the realm of ‘normal’ PMS symptoms. Listen to your mind and body and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.