Many women experience premenstrual symptoms as a natural part of their regular menstrual cycles. Each woman, however, experiences these symptoms in different degrees. Some women have mild symptoms or none at all, while others have moderate to severe symptoms that may disrupt their work or daily activities. One may also feel some physical and/or emotional changes during one period and none on the next period. This condition is known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Sometimes women wonder why they experience PMS symptoms but no period occurs. Having a delay or missing one's period is often a huge concern especially for women who are anticipating pregnancy. But experiencing PMS without a period is not always associated with pregnancy, and the possible reasons for this will be discussed.
Facts of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS symptoms - Symptoms of PMS vary in every woman and in every cycle, ranging from mild to moderate to severe. Some women feel that these symptoms are worsened in times of increased physical or emotional stress. There are more than a hundred symptoms linked to PMS, but the most common ones include:
- Appearance of acne
- Swelling and tenderness of the breasts
- Weight gain, bloating, and water retention
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Nipple emits a discharge when pressed
- Craving for salty or sweet foods
- Muscle aches
- Joint pains
- Low back pain
- Tiredness or low energy levels
- Reduced sexual desire
- Headache or migraine
- Urge to withdraw from other people
Emotional and cognitive symptoms:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or depression
- Irritability or anger
- Mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Unable to concentrate, decrease in alertness
Causes of PMS - As implied by its name, premenstrual symptoms are experienced before menstruation. Therefore, these occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, which is from ovulation to the start of one's period.
- It is worthwhile to remember that the menstrual cycle is influenced by hormonal changes that are controlled by the function of the ovaries, the pituitary gland, and the brain.
- Although it is not known what the exact cause of PMS really is, studies suggest that hormonal fluctuations influence the emergence of these symptoms. For example, a hormone produced in the brain called serotonin increases a woman's sensitivity to progesterone.
- Other studies show that estrogen induces fluid retention, which leads to bloating, weight gain and breast tenderness. Still other researchers believe that progesterone metabolism may be altered in some women who experience PMS.
- Other risk factors that have been associated with PMS include dietary imbalances, which involve a lack of important nutrients and consumption of too much salty food, caffeine or alcohol.
Causes of PMS Symptoms but No Period
Aside from the possibility of pregnancy or hormonal imbalance, other probable causes include:
- Anxiety, physical or mental stress, or tension, which can result in a missed or delayed period
- Use of contraceptive pills, which can result in absence or delay of a period
- Inappropriate diet or eating disorder that results in nutritional deficiencies affecting hormonal function
- Rigorous exercise, which is associated with hormonal changes and delay in menstruation
- Sudden weight changes, obesity, or weight loss, which can affect proper hormonal function
- Some medications like antihypertensives (for high blood pressure) or hypoglycemic drugs (for diabetes), which interfere with normal hormonal cycles
- Beginning of menopause, which is marked by hormonal decline
- Anemia, or decrease in healthy red blood cells, which may lead to reduction in menstrual bleeding
- Chronic illnesses like diabetes, which can affect normal hormonal mechanisms
- Polycystic ovarian disease, a condition where multiple cysts are formed in the ovaries, interfering with their function
- Premature ovarian failure, or premature menopause, where the ovaries stop functioning before the age of 40
- Ectopic pregnancy, a condition where the fertilized egg is implanted outside the uterus
In many women, having PMS symptoms but no period is not a serious condition and may be a temporary delay or interruption in one's normal menstrual cycles. However, if you think there may be a possibility that something may be wrong with your body, especially if it occurs more often than usual, or is accompanied by severe symptoms like high fever or intense pain, you should consult a doctor immediately.