8 Symptoms You Might Think Are PMS That Are Actually Something Much Sinister
Craving Salty Foods
Getting craving for sweet or salty foods is a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome (PMS.) However, if you especially crave salty foods, it may not just be due to PMS. It could be because you suffer from low blood sodium (hyponatremia). The body needs more salt just before menstruation to help the brain neurotransmitter serotonin function properly. Hormone changes before your period probably trigger the need for more blood salt. If your blood already has low levels of blood sodium, then those ravenous cravings for potato chips are there to keep you alive. According to the Mayo Clinic, untreated hypnatremia can cause the brain to swell which can lead to death. A simple blood test can determine your normal blood sodium level, so you can be prepared to eat more salty snacks just before your period – for a good medical reason!
It’s normal to have swelling due to bloating before your period, including swelling in the legs. However, it’s not normal to have swelling in the legs so bad that you can no longer wear any pants you own or if you can play your lower leg like a drum because your skin is to tightly swollen. This is not just PMS. This could be one of several serious medical issues. When your kidneys or liver are not working right, swollen legs is one of the first signs. Edema is also an indication that your heart may be in very bad shape. Have you started a new medication just before your period? This could be a sign that you are allergic to this drug. Get this leg swelling checked out at once.
Shoulder, Arm, Neck, Jaw or Back Ache
It’s common to have achy joints during your period. However, you should not be suffering the worse ache of your life in your neck, jaw, shoulder, arm or back. This is usually the symptom that you are about to have a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, women experience different heart attack symptoms than men do. You may have chest pain, fainting or sudden nausea – you may not. If you experience the worst joint ache of your life, do not wait. Call 911 immediately.
Acne, Weight Gain and Irregular Periods, Oh My!
Acne is common before your period because of the hormonal roller-coaster your body is on. Weight gain is common because of fluid retention. However, if you have both or either and also have irregular periods, then you may have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Despite the name, many women have PCOS and never get excruciating ovarian cysts. According to Women’s Health magazine, PCOS causes infertility and sometimes diabetes if left untreated. Since it often causes you to put on weight, PCOS also raises your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Due to fluid retention, your breasts often hurt before your period. Some hurt before and during your period. However, breast pain (also called mastalgia) also can have other causes, including breast cancer. Pain is often in just one breast. Inside of the painful breast are lumps of fatty tissue, cysts, fibroids or tumors, which can cause the pain. Over the counter painkillers usually take the pain away but you still should get your breast checked by a medical professional.
It’s common to feel tired before and even during your period. It’s not common to feel exhausted all of the time, no matter how long you sleep. PMS and your period can make you so exhausted that you cannot ignore it. Are you tired all of the other days of the month? If you, you could have low blood iron. Getting a simple blood test can help your doctor determine if you do. Eating more iron-rich foods like beans and taking an iron supplement may help you have more energy after a good night’s sleep.
Abdominal Bloating and Bowel Problems
Having your period makes everything in your body intensify. If there is any underlying condition, it will be ramped to the max during your period. Having abdominal bloating along with intestinal cramps, gas, constipation, or diarrhea can be caused by more chronic conditions than your period including irritable bowel syndrome, food allergies or parasite infestations. Healthline also reports that these could be caused by liver problems, malabsorption syndrome or a hernia. Keep track of how bad these symptoms get and tell your doctor.
It’s normal to feel blue during your period. With cramps, bloating, stained clothes, the smell — well, how can it not get to you? Some women only allow themselves to be depressed during their periods since American culture generally allows women to act unusual when she’s got her period. However, you should not feel suicidal. You should not be fighting to “act normal” when you really feel depressed on days when you do not have your period. If you feel like killing yourself, feel hopeless or that you cannot ever feel normal again, see your doctor. It could be major depression, which can be treated with therapy and medication.