7 Insane Things That Are Happening To Your Body During PMS
By Laura Biel
What’s really going on during that hellish period prelude?
Two weeks before your period
Yup, things are already happening way before your period actually hits… Your brain’s pituitary gland unloads two fast-acting agents – follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone – into your bloodstream. Both direct-message your ovaries: drop the package!
Message received. Your ovaries jettison their most mature egg into a Fallopian tube. This isn’t Formula 1, though; that egg’s journey to the uterus will take a few days.
In the meantime, your ovaries ramp up oestrogen production. The hormone signals the lining of your uterus to start building a suitable home for an embryo.
In the next two weeks
As the uterus builds up tissue and blood supply, your ovaries unleash the key pregnancy-supporting hormone progesterone. Your body temperature may rise a few degrees, though you might not even notice. Other side effects aren’t so benign…
Progesterone may also interfere with certain brain chemicals, including the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. And it can stimulate the amygdala, a brain structure tied to emotion. The result: two charming PMS calling cards – irritability and anxiety.
Meanwhile, oestrogen and progesterone are also hard at work prepping the womb. Your intestines may relax a bit to make room for a soon-to-be-occupied uterus. As they expand, so do you – yup, we’re talking bloating and gas. Changes in your insulin sensitivity could also trigger food cravings.
As your period starts
That unfertilised egg has waited around long enough and your uterus senses all the fuss was for nothing. Your oestrogen and progesterone levels plummet, along with – hooray! – most PMS symptoms.
But the fun’s not over. Your uterine cells begin releasing chemicals called prostaglandins that help slough off the extra blood and tissue. They force your uterine muscles to contract – a process otherwise known as cramps.
Prostaglandins can also cause nausea – their production can often be curbed by exercise or anti-inflammatory meds such as ibuprofen.
Though you may feel like you’re gushing for days, the average blood loss during a period is somewhere between a few tablespoons and a cup.
As your period ends
You made it! But ever the optimists, your ovaries start slowly prepping the next egg for release – so the process can begin all over again.
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