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PMS or Pregnant - How to Know the Difference?

PMS or pregnant? If that's what is plaguing your mind, this iBuzzle article will help you figure out what your symptoms are likely to indicate.
Okay, so there's a possibility you're pregnant but you aren't entirely sure whether that's actually the case. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are sometimes similar to those of pregnancy, so short of taking a test, there's no surefire way to tell. However, even if your period is delayed, or if there's a chance that you may be pregnant, you may be experiencing symptoms that point to PMS. Sometimes, you may even skip a period despite the fact that you aren't pregnant, and since a skipped period is the most telling sign of pregnancy, this may sound alarm bells straight away.

Home pregnancy tests nowadays can tell you on the first day of a skipped period whether or not you're pregnant, but the best way to be sure is to see a doctor, since these tests may sometimes have misleading or even erroneous results. Your doctor may perform an internal examination, or order a blood test to be positive about the results. The HCG hormone, is released by the placenta, and a blood test may detect an early pregnancy even when a urine test cannot. The following are some symptoms and signs that should help you determine your situation.

Is it PMS or Pregnancy?

On occasion, symptoms of PMS can manifest more significantly than usual, making pregnancy a possibility. These symptoms may be heightened if you feel that there's a chance that you're pregnant - the mind is a powerful thing, and you may even end up delaying your period because of stress. If your cycles are regular as a rule, a delayed period may be a telling signal but not a confirmation. PMS symptoms generally include breast tenderness or swelling, lower back pain, stomach or menstrual cramps, facial breakouts, headaches, and fatigue. You may also gain weight or feel bloated, find some nipple discharge and experience trouble with bowel movements. Apart from these physical manifestations, there may also be mood swings, depression, irritability, lack of concentration, restlessness, and anxiety. These symptoms are individual in nature, and as a rule, more or less the same symptoms show up every month.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of pregnancy are also very similar. Breast swelling or tenderness, fatigue or tiredness as well as most of the other symptoms above overlap with those of pregnancy symptoms. However, one of the most common signs of pregnancy is morning sickness, or nausea that is experienced in the beginning of the day. You may also experience implantation bleeding if you're pregnant, which is essentially a vaginal discharge which takes place when the egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. This may be similar to spotting, and may dispel the doubts of pregnancy, but implantation bleeding generally is pinkish or brownish, not dark red. Early pregnancy symptoms include increased frequency of urination, lower back pain, and darkening of the areolas, along with heartburn, sudden food cravings, and repugnance for certain smells.

When it comes to a discussion about PMS symptoms versus pregnancy, the obvious differences are morning sickness and a skipped period. However the symptoms will differ from person to person, and morning sickness may not manifest until much later or in some cases not at all. In addition, if your cycles are irregular and you have had sex at some point after your last period, a visit to the doctor may be more prudent.

When you're trying to figure out if you're pregnant or not, remember that although the symptoms are similar, relying on your intuition isn't always the best plan. Take the time to consult a professional, and don't delay.

Disclaimer: This iBuzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
By Tilottama Chatterjee
Published: 10/29/2010
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