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Can someone verify my symptoms are just PMS?

Every few months on the first day of my period I get really sick. The symptoms include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, going very pale, and complete weakness to the point where I struggled to press bottoms on my phone while I was laying on the ground. It comes on very suddenly and doesn’t happen every month. When I am on birth control it seems to happen far less often and less severe symptoms. It has happened at least since I was in high school. I brought it up to my new family doctor and she said it sounds like PMS and that the treatment is birth control. Is there an underlying issue or is it really just bad PMS?
3 Responses
134578 tn?1546634665
Have you tried taking an iron supplement? (Have you ever tried to donate blood and been told you were anemic?) It sure sounds like anemia to me.
3 Comments
I haven’t donated blood before but I have blood work done every year for my physical and have blnever been told my iron is low when they test for it.
Do you know for sure that they test for it?
Yes I look at the blood test requisition and my doctor has said before that she is testing my iron at other points.
973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
So, you should see your doctor to discuss this.  Is the first day of your period heavy bleeding or spotting?  How does your cycle go typically? That it is far less when you are on birth control pills seems to me that this is hormonally related and hence, can see why the suggestion is that it is PMS.  
5 Comments
It is the first day of actual flow but I don’t get much spotting before it starts. My cycle has always been pretty regular even when I have not been on birth control and lasts 4 days maximum.
So when I used to go to the doctors about this to get notes when I missed school I was told it was just a flu (I was 14 and 15 so didn’t have a clue). With my last family doctor I don’t think I brought it up but I just got a new family doctor and told her. She said it was PMS and that the treatment is birth control but I have never heard of anyone else experiencing this so I am not sure.
This doesn't sound like PMS to me.

Symptoms of PMS:

https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome:

Physical symptoms of PMS can include:12

    Swollen or tender breasts
    Constipation or diarrhea
    Bloating or a gassy feeling
    Cramping
    Headache or backache
    Clumsiness
    Lower tolerance for noise or light

Emotional or mental symptoms of PMS include:12

    Irritability or hostile behavior
    Feeling tired
    Sleep problems (sleeping too much or too little)
    Appetite changes or food cravings
    Trouble with concentration or memory
    Tension or anxiety
    Depression, feelings of sadness, or crying spells
    Mood swings
    Less interest in sex


The Mayo Clinic has a similar list, but adds constipation or diarrhea, but doesn't mention nausea, dizzyness and paleness. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology doesn't list those things either - https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Premenstrual-Syndrome-PMS?IsMobileSet=false#are

I think you should see a gynecologist about this, and not just your family doctor.  
I thought it sounded abnormal for PMS too. Okay I will try to st her to refer me to a gynocologist.
I agree with this. My sister has PMDD, which is severe PMS, and she hasn't ever gotten dizzy, nauseous or pale.

I hope you get some answers.
Thank you. It is honestly so awful. Hopefully I will get some answers soon.
973741 tn?1342346373
COMMUNITY LEADER
Ladies, look up period flue.   believe it or not, your cycle can cause this due to the release of prostaglandins prior to period. Nausea during period is not uncommon.  www.ladycarehealth.com/causes-and-treatment-of-menstruation-nausea/  It is also not uncommon to get dizzy right before your period and it wouldn't be a stretch to be dizzy the first day of your period.  https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/dizziness-before-period.  Pale I don't know about but if you are dizzy and nauseated, pale wouldn't be out of the question.  

I believe this all related to your hormone balance and I'd get a simple blood test to see if anything sticks out one way or the other.  good luck
7 Comments
That's period flu.  sorry for typo.  
I don’t know if I described this well but I also get super weak to the point where I have to lay on the floor and can sometimes barely lift my phone up to send a text message.
Is there anything to help prevent this? Right now my only “treatment” is to sleep until I feel better.
If it's a prostaglandin issue, Advil or Nuprin, being anti-prostaglandins, might help. Just take one or two as if you had a headache, and see if it makes any difference.
I hope so too sweetie.   When can you see your doctor?  As the one link I included states, dizziness during pms is often due to fluctuating estrogen levels.   Truly, if that is the case, the option of birth control may be one you decide to take with your doctor unless you are trying to get pregnant.  PMDD also has dizziness associated with it due sometimes to vascular changes  that you 'feel' more than others.  PMDD is treated often with a combination of things but it includes quite often mental health help.  In my area, there are psychiatrists that deal with PMDD and women's mental health issues as they relate to hormones as a sub specialty. You may find down the road that this is worth looking into. Those women are often on either daily SSRI medication (antidepressants) or on a variant schedule that the doctor comes up with which is off label but done.  

And honestly, I have vertigo (dizziness) which leads to nausea.  They go hand in hand for me.  I am not sure if this is what is happening with you but when you describe having to lay on the floor, that is me during a vertigo episode.  Mine is triggered by inner ear issues but if yours is triggered by either estrogen fluctuations and/ or vascular changes, then perhaps the nausea is due the dizziness.  

And if all of this is better with the pill, perhaps the pill is a viable solution for now.  

Do you also get headaches by the way? I have some of what you describe as they relate to migraines and migraines are also a situation that can arise from hormones fluctuations.  And migraines are NOT always a headache!  Truth.  Here is information on "silent migraine".  You get all the symptoms of a migraine from this except one . . .  pain.  And . . . .  one of the causes?  Changes in hormones and your menstrual cycle.  If that turns out to be the case, they will try different migraine medications most likely.

Yes, I agree with anniebrooke.  I would try that.  
I forgot the link for silent headache.  Really a good read. https://www.webmd.com/migraines-headaches/what-are-silent-migraines#1
So I am on a birth control pill currently. The problem is that it still sometimes happens even when I am on the pill. It seems to be less severe but still bad enough where I have to leave work. I will have to read up more on the silent migraine. Thank you for the link.
I have been on SSRI before for a long period of time and they didn’t help with this at all.
It hasn’t happened in a couple months but I can’t remember is the laying down is from the dizziness or the complete muscle weakness I experience.
I am going to my doctor on Monday for something else but hopefully I can get a referral to a gyno. They do have a 1 issue per visit policy but I am hoping she can still do the referral too.
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