My friend once fell to the ground and began to cry because her favorite pizza place closed on Mondays. I didn’t question her reaction. She had previously warned me about her ‘PMS’. As someone who can’t help but feel the effects of a monthly meltdown, it was easy to sympathize. It’s just the reality for many people.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is reported by as many as 3 out of 4 women who have ever had their periods. There are hundreds of symptoms that can be experienced, from fatigue, bloating, depression, intense cramping, and more. Unfortunately, not much information is available about the causes or what we can do to help. Despite only 19% of AFAB women experiencing PMS and 19% of penis-holders suffering from ED, five more studies are done on erectile dysfunction (ED).
Systemic sexism aside, there are some tried-and-tested ways to combat the more severe symptoms, with some people even requiring medication to negate the physical and emotional effects. What about the rest? Researchers have discovered that our environment may hold the key to unlocking the secret.
A new study published in Environmental National suggests a link between getting out in nature and reduced PMS symptoms.
Researchers surveyed over 1000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 living in cities in Norway, Sweden, and found that those who live in greener areas are less likely than those who live in more densely populated areas.
Researchers from the University of Bergen and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health wanted to determine if living in close proximity to urban green spaces could help with PMS symptoms. They also examined whether air pollution, body mass index, or physical activity had any effect on the results. These scientists concluded that women who live in greener areas are less likely to suffer from symptoms such as anxiety, depression, difficulty sleeping, breast tenderness, and abdominal bloating.
Kai Triebner, the lead author, noted that psychological effects were important. He stated that three of the four symptoms that were improved by exposure to green spaces were psychological. This is consistent with what we knew: contact nature can reduce stress and improve mental well-being.
Triebner explained how green spaces can lower levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Stress can lead to PMS symptoms, and it can also increase cortisol levels, which could then be linked with increased progesterone release, which has been shown to cause PMS symptoms.
He said that research was “another building block” to understanding the best conditions for living healthy lives. It is important to remember that not everyone has the chance to enjoy these green spaces.
The research showed that PMS treatment requires women to be exposed for a longer time to receive the greatest benefits. Payam Dadvand (a researcher at ISGlobal and the Barcelona Institute for Global Health) was the coordinator of the study. “When we looked into exposure to green space at one point in time the analysis didn’t yield any significant results.” “Our research shows the importance of long-term green space exposure, which has been shown to be beneficial for PMS symptoms.”
Most women and menstruating women are required to learn how to manage their symptoms. Each person has their own way of dealing with it. Although nature is known to have many benefits for our mental health, there are no scientific studies. Sometimes, all we need is good pizza.