The reality of living with PMS as Vicky Pattison talks about her debilitating symptoms

The reality of living with PMS as Vicky Pattison talks about her debilitating symptoms

01/20/2022

Former Geordie Shore star Vicky Pattison has been praised by fans for opening up about her “debilitating” premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms that had left her with a “burning desire to sob”.

Taking to Instagram, the 34 year old, who was diagnosed with a cyst on her ovary last year, revealed that after getting her implant taken out, her periods had been irregular and had left her taken by surprise.

“The last couple days I've felt exhausted, tearful, ravenous & skittish – loud noises literally have me jumping across the room,” she wrote.

“But as far as PMS symptoms go, for me – these were all super tame. So you can imagine my surprise when last night literally halfway through courses I was just hit with the worst cramps ever, a belly that could have seen me pass for 6 months preggo & the burning desire to sob.”


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OK! spoke exclusively to Hannah Samano, founder of the UK’s first cycle-care platform Unfabled about the prevalence of PMS as well as what treatments there are for the condition.

“Unfortunately most people who menstruate will experience some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including mood swings and headaches, cramping, stress and anxiety,” says Hannah.

Affectingover 90% of people who menstruate, PMS refers to the physical and emotional symptoms experienced two weeks before a period begins. With every person experiencing the condition differently, there areover 150 known symptoms of PMS.

And though many people may be able to live with these symptoms, acknowledging tender breasts or a change in appetite as a standard part of their menstrual cycle,between two and four in 100 people experience PMS so intense that it prevents them from completing day-to-day tasks. In fact, in research conducted by Unfabled, 32 to 40% of people reported missing school or work due to their symptoms.

“Some individuals can develop more severe symptoms.Between 5 and 8% of menstruating people globally also suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), an incredibly severe form of premenstrual syndrome which causes both emotional and physical symptoms and in some cases can, concerningly, result in suicidal thought,” adds Hannah.

“These symptoms can in turn make day to day activities incredibly difficult with people reporting difficulty in concentrating, self-doubt, paranoia, fatigue, tearfulness, a heightened sensitivity to the environment and people, outbursts, and finding social interaction particularly difficult.”

Though PMS and PMDD are sometimes dismissed, they can be treated. When it comes to managing symptoms Hannah reveals that cycle tracking is a good way of keeping track of different changes each month. “If we are aware of these changes, we can be mindful to pay particular care to ourselves during this time,” she says.

As well as this, Dr Shirin Lakhani, founder of Elite Aesthetics, recommends that anyone suffering from PMS should consider making some lifestyle changes, such as doing regular exercise, to reduce symptoms to a manageable level.

“Research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can lessen and help to improve PMS symptoms such as depression and fatigue,” says the doctor and intimate health specialist.

“It’s normal not to feel like working out at this time of the month, however exercise releases chemicals called endorphins. These interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain, and trigger a positive feeling in the body. So exercise can also help to reduce the cramps and pains associated with PMS.”

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Wellness expert Penny Weston agrees: “When we exercise the body releases chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine which boost our sense of well-being and suppress hormones that cause anxiety.

“It’s usually a good idea just to check with your GP before embarking on something new.”

With research indicating thatstress can raise the risk of PMS, Hannah emphasises the importance of looking after your mental health. “Feeling constantly under pressure isn’t good for mental health and can make us feel overwhelmed,” she says. “Stress is the number one factor for aggravating difficult menstrual symptoms as it interferes with our hormones and can deregulate our cycle.”

Due to this, it’s important to find the time to relax whether that’s through scheduled relaxation sessions or through techniques such as mindfulness, says Hannah: “Practising mindfulness can help us manage unwanted thoughts and reduce stress. It helps us connect with ourselves and allow us to see our thoughts, and not get swept up in them.”

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