Pre-menstrual syndrome, (PMS) commonly affects women up to 14 days before they start their monthly period, and generally disappears after a woman begins menstruating. Symptoms vary among individuals, and can be mild to severe. PMS is thought to stem from the fluctuations of the testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone hormones.
Physical, environmental, social, and psychological factors can influence the characteristics of PMS. Recommendations are made to lessen symptoms, or medical treatment is prescribed.
Increase in Libido (sex drive)
Not just men produce testosterone. For some women, the testosterone peak during PMS may increase their libido, causing sensitivity on the nipples and clitoris. The ability to achieve an orgasm may be greater at this time, and the effects of the orgasm may be more profound. Some women have reported sex as being more urgent or all consuming. This peak may or may not last the entire time that PMS is occurring.
Decrease in Libido
Many women report a decrease in sexual inclination or arousal during PMS. This can be due to hormones, physical discomfort or pain, or emotional and psychological reasons stemming from the syndrome. Some women benefit from increased exercise, a diet that excludes sugar and fat, acupuncture, meditation and massage. Drinking herbal teas and abstaining from alcohol has also been noted as elevating the overall mood during PMS.
Lessen Discomfort with a Good Diet
A healthy diet is important at all times of the month, but it becomes particularly important when you are experiencing PMS. Follow these tips for reduced discomfort and pain, and an improved libido during PMS:
- Eat less salt. During PMS, the body retains fluids which can result in a swollen, tender abdomen and bloating. Cutting out sodium alleviates these symptoms.
- Reduce caffeine intake. You may be more tired than usual, and be tempted to snap out of it by increasing your caffeine. Chocolate cravings are also common. While a little indulgence is harmless, excess caffeine can actually worsen symptoms of anxiety, nervousness, poor sleep, and tension. It can even rob the body of Vitamin B.
- Avoid simple, processed sugars. During PMS, the body needs more Vitamin B. Eating more sugar increases this need, and can make it difficult to efficiently break it down. Too much sugar can also result in a crash and leave you feeling more tired and weak than you did before.
- Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables help give you the extra energy, focus, and balance you need during these days. Also choose foods that are high in iron such as bran or oat wheat, apricots, kidney beans, and cashew nuts. B-complex foods include grains, legumes, and eggs.
A complicated host of factors, including the fluctuation of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone can contribute to PMS. Symptoms can include changes in libido, bloating, fatigue, irritability, and anxiety. A healthy diet can contribute to an overall elevation in mood and decreased symptoms.