Blood Pressure and PMS: All You Need to Know

A period is a difficult thing to go through. It’s a pain that only women will ever understand. But high blood pressure during menstruation can make matters feel much worse.

Though it is more common in men than women, high blood pressure is seen in about 30% of women worldwide and the rate is increasing at a steady pace. Moreover, problems like PCOS, hormone imbalances, PMS can complicate matters even further.

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Many women suffer from high blood pressure as well as menstrual disorders. So it is natural to make assumptions about the interrelation of these two conditions. In this article, we will go deep into the topics of blood pressure and menstruation to understand how these may influence each other.

Causes of Irregular Blood Pressure during Menstruation

To understand why you have high blood pressure during menstruation, first, you need to know how it’s related.

Blood pressure is closely related to the health of the body. High or low blood pressure may occur due to various factors.

But it is important to diagnose these conditions and take proper treatment. Knowing the various causes of high and low blood pressure can help you isolate them in your own life.

High or low blood pressure during menstruation can also be isolated and diagnosed easily if the true cause of irregular blood can be known.

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High Blood Pressure & its Causes

Medical science is yet to pinpoint exactly what causes high blood pressure. Several factors have been confirmed to be directly linked to the irregular increase of blood pressure in the human body.

These include smoking, out of control body weight, obesity, excessive salt intake, alcoholism, stress, sleep apnea, adrenal, thyroid, and chronic kidney diseases.

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Again old age and genetics play an important role in hypertension, as most patients tend to have a family history of high blood pressure. There might also be very slight changes in blood pressure during the normal menstrual cycle.

Low Blood Pressure & its Causes

For the average healthy person, low blood pressure with no symptoms isn’t really a concern. But for the elderly, it may be a sign of an underlying problem. This can lead to a lack of adequate blood flow to the vital organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, etc.

Pregnancy tends to show low blood pressure which is normal, as the circulation path of blood increases greatly. This is resolved automatically after the birth of the child.

Heat exhaustion and severe dehydration leading to heatstroke is another common cause of low blood pressure. Endocrine complications such as an underactive thyroid, Parathyroid disease, adrenal insufficiency, liver diseases also give rise to low blood pressure. Even low blood sugar and in some cases diabetes do so too.

Some heart conditions like abnormal heart rhythms, widening or dilation of blood vessels, heart valve complications, and extremely low heart rate also may be a potential cause of low blood pressure.

Deficiency of vitamin B-12, folate, and iron can also induce anemia. This in turn leads to low blood pressure due to a lack of red blood cells.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome is a condition affecting women’s emotional, physical and behavioral states during menstruation. It can manifest during any day of the menstrual cycle, normally occurring just before the menses.

It is a very common condition affecting over 90% of women. However, it must affect your life in a severe way for your doctor to diagnose you with PMS. The exact cause for PMS is still unknown.

It is thought that the sudden changes in the hormonal balance during menstruation plays a role in the manifestation of PMS. During the menstrual cycle, the female body goes through several drastic changes.

These changes are all influenced by two key hormones: estrogen and progesterone. The shifts in concentrations of these two hormones can cause mood swings, anxiety, and irritability.

Apart from these, there are various symptoms of PMS.

The symptoms Are as Follows:

  • Pain in abdomen
  • Bloating
  • Tenderness of breasts
  • Acne outbreak
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional outbreaks
  • Depression

There is no evidence that high blood pressure affects the menstrual cycle. New research has uncovered a link between PMS and elevated risk of high blood pressure. This might mean that women who suffer from PMS may be at higher risk of developing hypertension or some form of irregular blood pressure in the future.

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The Relation between High Blood Pressure and PMS:

A recent study conducted by the University of Massachusetts found a correlation between women suffering from PMS and elevated blood pressure. The study indicates that there may be a link between the two phenomena that were previously thought to be unrelated.

The study found that women with PMs were 40% more likely to develop high blood pressure than those with mild or no PMS. Another finding was that the age group of women below 40 were thrice as likely to develop some form of hypertension.

However, the research was unable to find a direct cause-and-effect interrelation between PMS and hypertension. It paves the way for more conversation about PMS and it’s risks.

What should you do to prevent PMS?

Though PMS is a widespread problem for millions of women worldwide, medical science is still unsure as to why it occurs and how to prevent it. But there are steps you can take to relieve the symptoms of PMS. 

Taking regular aerobic exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety. Exercise is also great for reducing tiredness and fatigue as well as improving sleep quality. Try to eat healthily.

Avoid foods that are high in caffeine, sugar, or salt as they can aggravate the symptoms of PMS. Avoid smoking and alcohol. Smoking and alcohol consumption can increase irritability and worsen PMS.

Over-the-counter pain relief meds can be helpful to reduce the effects of physical symptoms during PMS. Prescription meds like Hormone pills, antidepressants, and diuretics can help with mood swings, bloating, tenderness, and other symptoms.

Always consult a doctor before trying to take meds for PMS.

Self-medication can worsen the symptoms or even cause severe reactions and complications Taking supplements to make up for vitamin and iron deficiencies can also help reduce the strain of PMS.

What should you do to Prevent High Blood Pressure:

Prevention is always better than the cure. In no case is that more true than that of hypertension or high blood pressure. By leading a healthy lifestyle, you can greatly reduce the risks of hypertension and prevent serious complications like heart attacks or strokes.

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The first step is eating a healthy and balanced diet. Make sure your diet plan has enough vitamins, fibers, and minerals from plant sources. Avoid red meats and fats as much as possible.

High blood cholesterol is one of the main factors responsible for atherosclerosis which causes high blood pressure. So avoid cholesterol-rich foods. Controlling your diet is the most important step in controlling your weight and overall health.

Along with these, various supplements can help reduce weight when taken in tandem with a balanced diet.

Be physically active and watch your weight. Obesity and uncontrolled weight gain increases the risk for hypertension as well as many other conditions like Diabetes.

Try to get at least 30 mins of light to moderate exercise every day. Simple exercises like walking, jogging, cycling, etc are excellent ways to stay active.

Avoid smoking and alcohol. Smoking increases the chance of high blood pressure, COPD and heart attack. Alcohol is also responsible for weight gain, hypertension, and neurological disorders.

The last step is to manage stress. Try to find some time every day to relax. Manage your work and home life to reduce anxiety and psychological and emotional stress as much as possible. Try to maintain a blood pressure chart to keep track of when your blood pressure rises.

Make sure you get enough sleep and rest according to your routine. Meditation and yoga are two of the most effective ways to relieve stress.

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Conclusion

To sum up, if you’re facing high blood pressure during menstruation there’s no need to panic. Follow this guide to keep your blood pressure in check and go see your doctor for regular checkups. 

A positive attitude is all you need to overcome high blood pressure and live life to the fullest.

FAQs

Can high blood pressure cause heavy periods?

There is no evidence to link high blood pressure with heavy periods. Heavy periods can be caused by many other factors like PCOS, ovarian disease, uterine fibroids, etc.

Can irregular periods cause high blood pressure?

Studies have suggested that PMS might be one of the factors leading to high blood pressure. But it has not yet been confirmed.

Can blood pressure medication affect your menstrual cycle?

Although blood pressure medications do not affect the menstrual cycle, Aspirin which is a drug prescribed to heart patients can interfere with your period. 
Some other drugs like hormone medication, thyroid medicine, and antidepressants are known to interfere with menstruation.

Does a full bladder raise blood pressure?

A full bladder can increase blood pressure by 10-15 points. This is why blood pressure is measured after the bladder is emptied.

Can hormones affect blood pressure?

Hormone imbalance can cause a king of hypertension called Endocrine hypertension. It occurs when some glands of the body produce too much or too little of a hormone.

Can anemia cause blood pressure?

Anemia can cause the blood to become less dense, thus effectively making the blood lighter. Also, the lack of folate and iron causes red blood cell shortages which in turn leads to low blood pressure.

Can high blood pressure cause miscarriage?

Studies have shown that elevated high blood pressure can be linked to an increased risk of miscarriage during pregnancy.

Thanks for reading!

I'm a medical student from Bangladesh. As a doctor in the making, I'm fascinated by the regular advancements of medical science. This fuels my passion for trying to follow a health-conscious lifestyle. I love writing and sharing thoughts and ideas. I hope that my work can reach out and help people to enjoy a healthy, happy life. Muhtasim Munir MBBS (3rd year) Armed Forces Medical College

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