Genetics Vs. Lifestyle – What is the Real Cause of PMS?

Genetics-LifeStyle-PMSMore than half of all women who menstruate have some form of cramping, and 15 percent of women have severe cramps. Menstrual cramps usually (but not always) improve, as a woman gets older, especially after giving birth. Of course, this doesn’t mean cramps go away as you age—they just often become a little more manageable.

Like many other things in life, genetics affect everything – even PMS! Unfortunately, if your mom and grandma had bad cramps, chances are you probably will too. Regardless of what runs in your family, don’t let nature rule your life!

Many women overlook the influence that their lifestyle and health has on the symptoms of their period. Being overweight and inactive can actually exacerbate symptoms of PMS. This is because high amounts of body fat indicate higher levels of estrogen, which can worsen your PMS. Being inactive also means that you aren’t letting your body help you out. Working out causes your body to produce nature’s painkillers, endorphins. Even though we don’t usually feel like it, it’s always a good idea to stay active during your period – and all other times of the month.

What you eat also has an effect on how good or bad you feel. Too much sugar, caffeine, or alcohol can worsen PMS. Too much dairy consumption can also worsen symptoms, due to hormonal imbalances. High stress levels can also worsen the symptoms of PMS.

The moral of the story: there’s a lot to thank our moms for – just maybe not the cramps! Luckily for us ladies, we have the personal power to stay healthy and active before, during, and after our periods. Not only will this help with PMS symptoms, but it will also produce a healthier you. What’s not to love?

Why Does PMS Cause Water Weight?

Water Weight During Period

UGH. Do you ever get that balloon-like feeling? PMS and other hormonal changes can really affect how your belly feels. Many women get cramps, headaches, back pain, and more during their periods – but your body changes before your period as well. That uncomfortable bloating around the abdomen, hips, and thighs that we disdainfully refer to as “water weight” is a product of an imbalance of magnesium and potassium in the body. This is due to a change in hormones.

While it may seem like a lot, it is common to gain between 1 to 6 pounds before and during your period. This can happen regardless of how healthy you are. Some women will have a noticeable weight gain, while others don’t. Remember not to panic either way - this is totally normal!

Some girls try diuretics to reduce the bloat, but in the long run, diuretics rob you of important minerals that your body needs to function. Here are a few options to reduce this water weight gain:

  1. Avoiding salty foods will reduce the chances of water retention.
  2. Make sure you’re getting enough calcium.
  3. Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking more water doesn’t mean you are going to gain more water weight!
  4. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  5. Cut back on refined sugars.

While these are great tips, we also just recommend a “roll with it” approach. Help your body out with these tips, but don’t feel bad if you occasionally give into that chocolate bar. Whether it’s yoga pants to the library or a flowy dress to the office, wear something loose and comfy so you don’t feel miserable all day. Plus, remember that the mind tends to blow the actual appearance of bloating waaaaaay out of proportion. You still look great, and the bloating will go away as soon as your period comes!

Bikini Season Bloat

bikini

Worried about bikini season bloat?  Usually bloating lasts a couple of days before your period starts so in all reality you should have 3 bloat free bikini weeks each month. There is the good news.

Sometimes the day you are feeling really bloated happens to be on the weekend when everyone is making plans involving bathing suits. Diuretics are the most effective way to reduce bloating, but dehydrating yourself before a long day in the sun is... in a word... stupid.

Have you seen the summer fashion magazines? One piece bathing suits are everywhere and not just in boring, yet slimming, black. There are metallic tanks, crazy prints and a variety of high and low leg cuts. Check out the retro high wasted bikini bottoms and boy shorts as well. Sometimes a more functional bathing suit is better than a really skimpy one…less adjusting, fewer wedgies and a lower probability of losing a top or bottom in the waves!

Think about this though, you could just skip this weekend and go see a movie. The other good thing about summer is that all the summer blockbusters come out and the movie theater is nicely air conditioned. It is ok to put your favorite sweat pants on instead of a bathing suit for now because you’ll be back to your fabulous self in a bathing suit next week.