Symptoms of pregnancy or premenstrual syndrome: differences

At some point, all women were looking for explanations to understand the differences between the early symptoms of pregnancy and those of premenstrual syndrome.

Most women suffer from premenstrual syndromes, but consider them normal:

Premenstrual syndrome is related to the cycle, the symptoms:

  • occur about a week or two before menstruation,
  • pass again at the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

Therefore, many women confuse the premenstrual syndromes with those of pregnancy.

The symptoms are very similar to each other and it is very difficult for a woman to distinguish the cause.

Every woman has different symptoms, premenstrual disorders can be absent in some women and are very pronounced in others.

The first symptoms of pregnancy can appear immediately after ovulation and are caused by:

  • changes in the levels of hormones of estrogen and progesterone,
  • Nidation (implantation of the embryo in the lining of the uterus).

Symptoms of premenstrual syndrome begin at the same time and are caused by:

  • change in the ratio between estrogen and progesterone,
  • Decrease in serotonin levels, i.e. the happiness hormone.

Difference Between the First Symptoms of Pregnancy and Premenstrual Syndrome

Symptoms that may distinguish pregnancy from premenstrual syndrome PMS include:

  1. Absence of menstruation: This can be considered a reliable sign of pregnancy if it occurs in women with otherwise regular cycles.

2) Cramps and bloody discharge

Mild bloody discharge and cramps are symptoms of both:

  • Pregnancy
  • premenstrual syndrome.

Spasms in premenstrual syndrome are more common and their severity varies depending on:

  • genetic predisposition,
  • Fluid retention.

However, some women also experience cramps and discharge in the first few days after conception.

Sometimes these are the first signs of pregnancy.

How do you recognize the cause?

Convulsions and discharge in premenstrual syndrome

Convulsions or dysmenorrhea are common symptoms in the two days preceding menstruation.

Once the cycle begins, the pain gradually decreases and ends once the menstrual period is over.

Implantation bleeding: It occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the mucous membrane of the uterus.

This usually takes place 6-12 days after fertilization.

The bleeding is lighter, lasts a maximum of 2 days and the blood looks pink or brownish (abnormal). This does not happen in all women.

Discharge at implantation is the first symptom of pregnancy, many women have abdominal pain and mild blood loss.

During pregnancy, cramps occur in the lower part of the back or abdomen and persist for weeks or even months.

3) Aversion to some foods or cravings

Women are already attracted to some foods in the first weeks of their pregnancy.

However, many women suffer from similar symptoms before the onset of menstruation and have the constant impulse to eat some foods, such as dark chocolate or sweets.

Cravings for premenstrual syndrome

If a woman has cravings for sweets, chocolate and sugar and an increased appetite, then her period seems to begin. She can hardly resist this desire.

Cravings during pregnancy

Among the first symptoms of pregnancy is the sudden craving for unusual foods.

The woman can suddenly feel like eating food that she would never have imagined otherwise.

This is one of the most reliable signs of pregnancy.

In some women, this symptom exists only at the beginning of pregnancy, while other women feel it throughout pregnancy.

Some women also suffer from a disorder called picacism during pregnancy, which are cravings for non-edible materials, such as:

  • dry colour,
  • Metal
  • Pieces of ice.
  1. High odor sensitivity: Pregnant women may develop a violent aversion not only to certain smells, but also to scents that were perceived as pleasant before pregnancy.
  2. Morning sickness

It occurs in 90% of pregnant women. This is a feeling of nausea. Even though it is referred to as “morning”, it can occur at any moment of the day.

Nausea is a common pregnancy symptom, but some women may also have it before menstruation begins, although this is less common. With nausea, it is almost certain that the woman is pregnant.

Nausea and premenstrual syndrome

Women do not experience nausea or vomiting when menstruation is delayed, so nausea can be ruled out as a safe symptom of premenstrual syndrome.

Nausea and pregnancy

Morning sickness is one of the most common problems of pregnant women. Most women feel the nausea at the beginning of pregnancy. If the menstrual period is delayed and nausea occurs, it is very likely that conception has taken place.

Specialists say that the nausea attacks begin in the first three months of pregnancy.

Many women vomit, but do not feel nausea.

A study by the American Pregnancy Association shows that not all women suffer from nausea in the first hours of the morning.

These symptoms can occur at any time of the day.

  1. Elevated basal body temperature: If it persists for more than 16 days after ovulation, this is likely a sign of pregnancy.

If the woman is not pregnant, the temperature begins to drop after 12 days, because it usually varies with progesterone levels.

7) Weight gain and swelling

Pregnancy causes an increase in body weight and a feeling of swelling. But these are also typical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Weight gain and premenstrual syndrome

In the days before menstruation, the body shows significant fluid retention.

Swelling is a common symptom in women in the days leading up to the cycle.

The bra appears tight and the belly gets bigger, even the pants usually get tight.

Many women gain a few kilograms before the start of the cycle. These symptoms pass as soon as the menstrual period occurs.

Swelling and body weight gain in pregnancy

With a significant increase in abdominal circumference, which is more significant than in the days before the start of the cycle, this may be a sign of pregnancy.

Swelling is one of the first signs of pregnancy and often this symptom causes discomfort to the woman.

This condition does not pass in the following days, when conception has taken place. Responsible for the swelling is the hormone progesterone.

8) Swollen and aching breast

The swollen and firm breast is common both during pregnancy and before the start of menstruation. How are these situations to be distinguished?

In premenstrual syndrome

it is conceivable that the breasts are indolent and swollen in the second half of the menstrual cycle. In younger women, the symptoms are more pronounced.

Every woman feels a different pain, which can be lighter or stronger. The pain is stronger before the cycle and decreases with the onset of the menstrual period.

In most cases, the symptoms pass after the menstrual period is completely over.

In premenstrual syndrome, breast tissue can become coarser and more swollen, especially on the outside. Some women report a larger and swollen breast.

However, these changes last only a few days and disappear after the start of the cycle.

Changes in the female breast are also a common symptom of pregnancy.

One may feel pain and tingling in the chest. It can also become heavier.

Breast swelling in pregnancy

Breast changes in pregnancy can occur as early as two weeks after conception.

In the first days of pregnancy, the breasts can become painful and sensitive to touch. Swelling and indolence are caused by the increase in progesterone levels in the body.

9) Darkening of the nipple: The increased level of estrogen in the maternal body leads to the enlargement of the areola of the breast. In addition, it becomes darker as pregnancy progresses. This symptom does not occur before a cycle.

10) Pimples and acne

The hormone changes can also affect the skin. The appearance of pimples and acne during adolescence or before the cycle is common.

But even during pregnancy, many women develop acne.

It can be difficult to distinguish whether the pimples appear before menstruation or in early pregnancy.

Premenstrual syndrome

Various studies show that up to 78% of women observe a “blooming” of acne and pimples before the onset of menstruation.

Often gynecologists prescribe hormonal contraceptives to solve the problem.

The acne disappears after a few days.

Acne in pregnancy

The pregnant woman produces more androgens. These are hormones in the body that lead to the dilation of the sebaceous glands in the skin.

These hormones are also responsible for the increase in sebum production, which clogs the skin pores.

The result is acne.

If pimples persist for more than 10 days, this is a sign of pregnancy.

11) Melasma: Also known as pregnancy spots, this symptom is an area of darkening pigment on the skin exposed to the sun. After birth, the melasma disappears again.

12) Extreme tiredness and exhaustion

Exhaustion and extreme tiredness can be a sign of premenstrual syndrome, but so can pregnancy.

Fatigue and premenstrual syndrome

If you feel tired on a day when you haven’t done anything strenuous and the cycle is approaching, it may be a sign of premenstrual syndrome.

Fatigue during pregnancy

If the cycle is delayed and there is extreme fatigue, this may be the first sign of pregnancy.

Women often complain of fatigue in the first and third trimesters of pregnancy.

The cause is the increase in the hormone progesterone, which leads to a decrease in:

  • Blood pressure
  • Sugar levels.

Pregnant women suffer from severe fatigue like after a marathon.

Physical symptoms, behaviors, and emotions that indicate premenstrual syndrome:

Physical symptoms

• facial pimples;
• leg pain;
• abdominal pain and ovarian pain;
• joint and muscle pain;
•Weight gain;
• chest swelling;
•Stomach ache;
• chest pain;
• bloating or air in the abdomen;
• back pain, abdominal cramps;
• changes in skin and hair;
• sensitivity to light and noise;

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

• Cravings (sweet/salty);
• sexual aversion;
• decreased attention;

First symptoms of pregnancy

Like premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy offers different symptoms for each woman.
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate pregnancy. Often they are similar to those of premenstrual syndrome.

Physical symptoms

• abdominal cramps;
• leg pain;
• stool constipation;
• absence of menstruation (amenorrhea);
• dry eyes, which can lead to burning eyes;
• dry and cracked lips;
• morning sickness;
• darkening of the areola;
• chest pain;
• appearance of veins on the chest;
• increase in basal body temperature (mild fever);
• some women complain of colds;
• chest swelling;
• headache, back pain, kidney pain;
• dizziness and fainting;
• frequent urination;
• severe and unexplained fatigue;

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

• nidation bleeding;
• vaginal discharge (white/milky appearing);
• increased sensitivity to pleasant and unpleasant odors.

High fever is not a symptom of pregnancy. So the doctor should be consulted immediately.

• Cravings or aversion to certain foods
• mood swings and nervousness;
• Loss of libido (in the first trimester of pregnancy due to increased progesterone levels) • Increase in libido (in the second trimester of pregnancy)

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