Everything You Need to Know About Post-Menstrual Syndrome
Morgane Leten - Nutrition & Fertility Expert Coach
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s not a typo. This post is all about Post-Menstrual Syndrome.
You are most likely aware of Premenstrual Syndrome (aka PMS). We talk about it a lot here at Guud Woman (like this post called Say Guudbye to PMS or this one about our ambassador Uwe’s challenges with PMS) But in this post, we’re talking about the other PMS: the one that comes after your period ends.
What is Post-Menstrual Syndrome?
Post-menstrual syndrome is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that happen after your period ends. There is a real lack of research on many aspects of women’s health so you could be forgiven for having never heard of it before. Much like post birth control syndrome (PBCS) there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that women experience regular symptoms when their period ends, but there are no scientific studies to confirm the syndrome is a real medical condition. So, it’s barely mentioned and unfortunately it leaves many women in the dark.
But don’t worry. We’re going to shed some light on the topic.
What are the Symptoms of Post Menstrual Syndrome?
The symptoms range but often include both physical and mental symptoms. Here is a list of what you might be experiencing.
- General pain (in joints, back or when having sex)
- Vaginal dryness, itching or burning
- Trouble sleeping
- Mood Swings
- Crying more easily or often
- Trouble concentrating
Most people experience symptoms for a few days, although some can persist for up to two weeks.
What Causes Post-Menstrual Syndrome?
In a word: hormones.
To look at it scientifically, PMS is thought to be caused by lower levels of progesterone, while post-menstrual syndrome is likely to happen when there is too much estrogen and androgens in the system.
Pre-menstrual syndrome has been studied throughout the years so doctors are more aware of the symptoms and treatment options. While many will be quick to prescribe the pill, we strongly recommend trying a supplement and making some lifestyle changes to your diet and activity levels first.
Say Guudbye to PMS: You can read more about how to manage PMS in our blog post here.
Post-menstrual syndrome on the other hand, is not particularly well understood. While there have been theories about the specific causes of both physical and mental symptoms, many have been disproven over the years.
What is known however is that hormonal imbalances are likely to blame and certain conditions, like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can make post-menstrual syndrome symptoms worse.
Is Post-Menstrual Syndrome the Same as Ovulation Pain?
No, they are different and often occur at different times of your cycle.
Ovulation pain, which is also called “mittelschmerz,” usually involves cramps during ovulation. The word “mittelschmerz” is a German word meaning “middle” and “pain” which makes sense as ovulation occurs in the middle of your cycle.
Some women may also have light vaginal bleeding or discharge. Most of the time, the symptoms are pretty minor, but occasionally, they can be more severe. Some women may have never experienced any pain during ovulation.
Ovulation pain can feel the same as pre-menstrual cramps, but the difference is the timing. Ovulation pain will occur about two weeks before you get your period.
What Can You Do About Ovulation Pain and Post Menstrual Syndrome?
You can treat symptoms of ovulation pain and post-menstrual syndrome much the same way as pre-menstrual syndrome. Here are a few tips to help you out:
- Try adding in a supplement. Choose supplements that contain quality ingredients linked to health claims. For example, vitamine B6 helps regulate your hormonal activity, magnesium helps reduce fatigue and omega-3 supports your mood and mind.
- Manage stress levels where possible. Try meditation, getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night and exercising regularly
- Pay attention to your diet. Avoid salt, caffeine and alcohol and make sure you eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and fish
- Track your cycle and your symptoms. Write down how your body and mind feel throughout the month so you can start to see trends and recognise patterns.
So, does this mean I’m going to be in pain all the time?
No, it does not. With ovulation pain, premenstrual pain and post-menstrual pain, we can understand how you might now be worrying that pain is inevitable basically all the time, but that is simply not true. The symptoms we’ve talked about in this post are often very minor or for many women, not noticeable at all. And, they can be alleviated through simple lifestyle changes and ensuring that your body is getting the right vitamins and minerals each month.
Still have questions? Talk to us. We have experts who can help you. Remember, these symptoms are common, but they are not normal and you should not have to live with regular pain. And have you tried our product-finder yet? It's a handy way to check your symptoms and see what solutions might work for you.