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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Strange cramping and swelling - PMS?

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Author Topic: Strange cramping and swelling - PMS?
Member # 104162

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Okay, so I have a bit of a story - last October I was having sex with my boyfriend [I'm 20], when the condom broke. He withdrew immediately. It was the very last day of my period, but since I have a 33 day cycle, I should still have had around 6 days before my fertile period. Obviously, I still got worried and took a pregnancy test 2-3 weeks later, which naturally was negative, and my period came a few days later. Since then I've had a period, normally, once a month, however due to severe anxiety issues, paranoia and hypochondria [it runs in the family - and having a thesis to hand in in a month's time doesn't help] I kept worrying.
I took another test in January only to be on the safe side, still negative. That calmed me down, until I started hearing about people getting their periods well into pregnancy or HCG levels being too low to show.
Another 2 negative tests later [one only last week. Technically if I were pregnant, I'd be 4 months tomorrow, and I have had NO symptoms] I should be calm and relaxed but my anxiety is still killing me.
Now I've been having this really strange abdominal swelling [bloating?] and low pelvic area cramps for the past week or so, and my breasts have gone up a cup size [not painful], which usually happens before every period but not quite as badly and for much shorter a time. I should have ovulated on the 16th February and I still have a week to go till my next period.
My friends are telling me it's just a bad case of PMS due to all this stress, but I've never had PMS before - at least not this bad.

By now I'm quite sure I'm not pregnant but that isn't stopping me from constantly checking my boobs and pressing my stomach. My anti-anxiety meds aren't helping too much either. Any idea why the cramps and the swelling? Can PMS be excerbated by the stress and anxiety, and come so early in a cycle?
Thank you!!

Posts: 39 | From: Malta | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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Hi saphira2013
and welcome to Scarleteen,

The menstrual cycle, which includes premenstrual symptoms, is tremendously impacted by stress and anxiety. There are multitudes of hormonal processes and reactions that go on in our bodies, and they're all interconnected. So, if your body is stressed, that's going to affect other bodily processes. Likewise, things that people often do when they're stressed, such as eat differently or get more or less sleep, can impact the menstrual cycle.

Plus, sometimes, the menstrual cycle just changes for no reason.

You mentioned taking anti-anxiety medication. Are you also receiving any counselling or therapy to help manage anxiety?


Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 104162

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Thank you for the welcome, and thank you for reassuring me! [Smile] I was quite worried about the symptoms and I just kept panicking, because as it often happens - you just add up any random symptoms and figure out that they're all pointing to one terrible thing. Making a mountain out of a molehill, haha.

No, as yet I am not receiving any therapy; however, I'm considering starting because this scholastic year is taking its toll on me, and the meds alone aren't doing their job.
Mostly, I just needed somebody to tell me that I'm simply freaking out and overreacting needlessly, because as I've read people commenting on many posts here - yahoo answers and other internet sites do NOT help calming people down.

So you wouldn't be worried at all if you were me and just try to manage the anxiety a bit better?

Posts: 39 | From: Malta | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 101745

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If I could just delete yahoo answers from the internet, I'd feel so much better - and I think all the users who come in with pregnancy stories from there would feel better too! It may help to check out this thread on some of those pregnancy scare sites where other users have talked about their experiences reading them.
Right now I think your best next step is to work on ways to manage your anxiety. I don't know if this is the case where you are, but some universities do offer therapy/mental health services for students; you may want to look into that as a first step if talking to someone about how to handle it better sounds like a good plan.

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 104162

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Haha, yeah I wish so too... They're the last thing anyone needs when the panic levels start rising!
I hadn't actually considered the therapy services at my university, but come to think of it, it would be much easier. Thank you for the idea and support, I really appreciate your help [Smile]

Posts: 39 | From: Malta | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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