Even before my older sister and I knew about periods, we knew the intensities of menstrual flow through our mother. A kind and patient woman, there was a particular time in the month when she would be very irate at small things. Over time, we figured it was all due to PMS, Premenstrual Syndrome, and PMS symptoms.
All thanks to my mother, my elder sister, and I in a tight-knit family of four (but don’t feel sympathetic towards my father, he participated in the conversation when needed). When my sister grew older, she got her period first and I was under the impression that she too would turn into a more aggressive version of herself, but what actually happened was far from it.
Once she started her period, her PMS symptoms were incredibly mild. A headache or some cramps was all she experienced. This was incredibly confusing to me at that time. Granted, she’s not someone that had a temper but yet to this day, her symptoms have remained the same. So, you can imagine how my exposure to these various PMS symptoms made me worry about mine in the future.
Intrusive thoughts kept popping up. Will I turn mean or not? What exactly do cramps even feel like? And many more flew through my mind constantly. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for long since my period and PMS symptoms followed pretty soon.
I started menstruating when I was 13 years old, a bit younger than most girls and with a very different experience than them too! Cramps felt like a constant physical punch that would last for hours. My skin would breakout all across my jaw and chin, and my mood swings would make my father question how I could cry one moment and then laugh hysterically within a few minutes.
PMS symptoms were hard to navigate, plus my friends slowly experienced so many others. A friend of mine would be sensitive to smell while another would have extreme fatigue. I continue to come across many women who have their own stories of battling this part of their menstrual journeys.
While it is a process, you don’t have to fixate on PMS symptoms that you could get and experience. Each woman is unique, and if her period is as well, then her PMS symptoms would be too. All you can hope for is to be able to manage them better, either by yourself or with some help from your gynaecologist.