“Confessions of the Body: PMS vs. Pregnancy – Which Journey are you on?”

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common term used to describe group of symptoms which can be associated with the menstrual cycle. These symptoms often intersect with pregnancy symptoms which can be very confusing for a sexually active woman especially one with irregular periods.

In this article we shall be discussing about these symptoms and how to differentiate between PMS and pregnancy.

Similar symptoms between PMS and pregnancy

1. Breast tenderness

This is a very common overlapping symptom between PMS and pregnancy. The breasts usually become tender and increase in size. However in PMS the tenderness typically starts a week before menstruation and disappears just before it or towards the end of it. In pregnancy, the breast tenderness can last for about four to six weeks in the first trimester. There is also noticeable increase in size and sometimes lactation.

2. Bloating and weight gain.

Weight gain is the one of the upsetting symptoms in this syndrome as a lot of women dread the unnecessary gain weight. However in PMS, while it may be unnecessary and may not occur, in pregnancy it is inevitable. Weight gain is mainly water retention which resolves usually at the beginning or during menstruation. In pregnancy, as the baby grows, weight increases.

3. Fatigue

Feeling tired may be subjective especially with the different nature of people’s jobs. However there is an increased feeling of tiredness around the time of menstruation and also during early pregnancy. If you notice a feeling of being tired or the time, it could mean either!

4. Mood swings

Heightened emotions or feeling of sadness or confusion can characterize PMS and early pregnancy. There could be outbursts of laughter and crying which can be very unpredictable. It is almost impossible to differentiate if it is PMS or pregnancy induced in this case.

5. Weird appetite and cravings

An increased desire for something sweet, salty or largely unhealthy is a major struggle for women during this period. While in PMS it usually resolves after menstruation starts, in pregnancy it is more intense with a lot of weird food combination.

What’s next?

While these symptoms may overlap, the only sure way to know whether it is PMS or pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test. if there is a missed period plus these symptoms it could be pregnancy or the period is coming late or some other underlying health condition

a pregnant woman

If the pregnancy test is negative, without commencing menstruation for weeks it is imperative for you to see your gynaecologist

positive pregnancy test

Whether it is PMS or pregnancy, be aware of your body changes and embrace them. the female human body is quite complex but a good understanding will help allay some fears. it is important to know that no two females are the same and as such may experience different PMS or pregnancy symptoms so noting the symptoms is not enough to distinguish between the two. A pregnancy test is a definitive way to know.

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