(Courtesy of CNP Montrose)
While at least one symptom of PMS, affects 85 percent of women, severe discomfort, or mood changes before your period would actually be a sign of something more serious. Some women spend years not to realize that they suffer from endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), or any other major threat to health because they are confused with run-of-the-mill PMS.
If your period is wreaking havoc on your ability to function, not dismiss the prospect of a more serious condition. Talk with your doctor if you have any of these signs.
1. Spotting just before your period
Pre-menstrual spotting can be a sign of endometriosis, according to OB/GYN Shahin Ghadir, MD. This condition leads to the tissue that normally lines the uterus grow on the outside, causing the development of painful cysts and scar tissue. It can also lead to serious pre-menstrual cramps and nausea that are often confused with PMS. Other symptoms of endometriosis are heavy periods and pain during sex.
2. Acne or abnormal hair growth
Hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)—characterized by an excess of androgens can lead to mood swings and other PMS symptoms before your period. But in contrast to the standard PMS, they can also lead to hair growth on the face or body, hair loss on the head and acne says Ghadir.
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3. Progressively shorter periods of time
Striking PMS in combination with the menstrual cycles that are shorter and shorter can mean perimenopause—the transition to menopause. In women under 40, these symptoms can be a sign of premature ovarian dysfunction, providing you with an early menopause, Ghadir says.
4. The emotional problems that interfere with your life
If your mood swings get in the way of your work or your relationships, this could be a sign of PMDD, including mental health issues associated with PMS in a more severe form, according to OB/GYN and Sherry Ross, MD. Debilitating mood swings can also be a sign of anxiety or depression. People with these conditions will probably experience month-round, but they often intensify right before your period. If your PMS is going to have emotional problems so severe that you have trouble with sleeping, getting up, eating, or to do your work, it could actually be a sign of depression.
5. Really bad cramps
Some cramping before or during menstruation is normal, but if basic activities such as walking are painful or your cramps cause nausea, vomiting, or numbness in your legs, they can be a sign of endometriosis, says Ross. This condition can be easy to miss if you expect to be in pain during the menstrual period, but it is really important to spot early, because it can lead to infertility, cysts, and chronic pain.
6. Symptoms than the pre-menstrual phase
If one of the PMS symptoms seem to last after your period starts or begins more than two weeks in advance, they probably can not be attributed to Aunt Flo, says Ross. If you have a bloated feeling continues throughout the month, for example, this may be a symptom of lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux disease, or poor diet.
While a little discomfort or irritation around the menstruation is normal, it is important not to minimize or normalize anything more than that. If something looks like a serious problem to look further in, it probably is.