Which PMS “Type” Are You?

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Did you know there are different types of PMS? In 1980, Dr. Guy Abraham at UCLA developed a classification system grouping more than 150 reported PMS symptoms into “types.” Many of us are likely to suffer from more than one type, but in general, our symptoms fall into these five categories:

TYPE A (Anxiety)

Symptoms: You suffer from a high estrogen/low progesterone ratio, making you nervous, tense, and anxious. Your mood swings are legendary. Your period often starts suddenly and is heavy with clots.

What to do: Try increasing your intake of Vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium. Chamomile tea might be helpful, too.

TYPE B or P (Pain/Aggression)

Symptoms: Pain is what you feel most during PMS, particularly in your joints, lower back, abdomen, and head. You may also experience weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, and breast tenderness. Some scientists theorize this is due to inflammation, which means the key to feeling better is to reduce that inflammation.

What to do: Try increasing your intake of Vitamin C with bioflavonoids. In addition, decrease your salt intake. When you do need salt, consider using sea salt, which has beneficial trace minerals.

TYPE C (Cravings)

Symptoms: Fluctuations in blood sugar levels cause headaches, fatigue, and moodiness. You’re dealing with increased appetite and cravings, often for sugary foods.

What to do: Eat smaller meals and snacks more often to keep your blood sugar level. You may also want to increase your magnesium intake.

TYPE D (Depression)

Symptoms: You’re troubled by emotional symptoms most of all, including depression, forgetfulness, and insomnia. It’s believed that this is caused by low levels of estrogen and serotonin.

What to do: EXERCISE! Even if you’re not feeling it, getting your body moving will do wonders for these particular symptoms. Certain herbs like red clover and chaste tree berry can help, too—and you can get both of those (and more!) in the GirlU supplement.

TYPE H (Hyperhydration)

Symptoms: You retain water like nobody’s business. Bloating, breast tenderness, and swollen hands and feet are the bane of your existence during that time of the month.

What to do: Even though it seems counterintuitive, keep hydrated! You’ll also want to increase your intake of potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, apricots, and broccoli.

No matter what your PMS type, all the usual suggestions apply: eat well, watch the amount of sodium, caffeine, and sugar you consume, drink lots of water, and run through all of your favorite de-stressing techniques.

What PMS type are you? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter…or take a snapshot of your favorite healthy remedy for your PMS type and share it with us on Instagram!

Period Mood Swings and You

Angry woman surrounding by chalk designs

What causes period mood swings, and what can you do about them?
Image: Shutterstock

We all get a little moody sometimes, but period mood swings are definitely one of the major reasons why PMS gets such a bad rap. Crying spells, angry outbursts, anxiety attacks—how do you make them stop? And how do you know if it’s PMS…or something else?

“You’ll know these emotional ups and downs are due to PMS if they start consistently a week to two weeks before your period and stop a day or two after menstruation starts,” says gynecologist Carol Livoti, MD. These mood swings generally happen during the last (luteal) phase of the menstrual cycle, usually days 14-28. And they’ll probably stop as soon as menstruation starts. (If they don’t, you may be suffering from depression or a different problem that you should talk to your doctor about right away!)

Scientists suspect period mood swings happen because of the shift in hormones, in particular the rise and fall of estrogen levels. Add a dash of life stress to that—divorce, job loss, or a tough presentation at school—and the mood swings can be even worse.

So what can you do to minimize the pain and suffering caused by period mood swings? Try a few of these options:

 

Exercise. No surprise here! Physical activity is great for your body, and it’s been shown to help with bad moods, too, thanks to the feel-good chemicals released from your brain when you get moving.

Eat small, frequent meals. Eating six small meals a day instead of the usual, bigger three can keep your blood sugar level and help with hormonal mood shifts. Work on keeping your carbohydrate intake down, too.

Try calcium supplements. One study showed that supplementing your diet with 500 milligrams of calcium twice a day can lead to significantly less depression and fatigue during your menstrual cycle. Be sure to check with your doctor before trying new supplements!

Manage the stress. While stress doesn’t cause mood swings, it can certainly contribute to them! Take time out to try some relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. You may also benefit from doing some group therapy—or just having a quiet chat with a supportive friend.

Remember the good things! Shifting hormones can actually make some things easier for you. One study suggested that when you have less progesterone in your system (generally around day five or six of your cycle), you’re able to be more thoughtful and empathetic. And when estrogen spikes between days five and thirteen, you’re likely to feel more confident, feminine, and attractive. Embrace it!

 

Period mood swings don’t have to be debilitating PMS side effects. Be kind to yourself, make a few simple lifestyle changes, and you’ll feel better in no time!