Not only do you have to deal with cramps and bloating every time Aunt Flo comes to town, but PMS may be a signal for future health complications

By Macaela Mackenzie
Corbis Images

Between cramps, bloating, and a serious stay-out-of-my-way-and-give-me-chocolate attitude, your period is already bad enough. But according to a new study, there may be a bigger health concern linked to those annoying monthly symptoms. (First, Your Menstrual Cycle Phases-Explained.)

Researchers recently found that women with PMS were more likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, or it's complications, later in life, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers followed over 3,500 women-about 1,200 women experienced clinically significant PMS (meaning symptoms were diagnosed by a doctor)-for a period of six to 20 years. Interestingly, researchers found that the link between PMS and high blood pressure was strongest for women under 40-these PMS-plauged women were three times as likely to have issues with high blood pressure later in life, as compared to women who didn't experience the emotional and physical maladies of PMS each month.

Researchers aren't clear on the linking factor between PMS and blood pressure, but they hypothesize that your blood vessels may be to blame: If something about our blood vessels predisposes us to PMS, it may also cause the predisposition for serious blood pressure issues. (Find out The Truth About PMS, Weight Gain, and "Fat Days.")

This makes PMS more than just a monthly annoyance. Blood pressure isn't something to mess around with: It's a leading factor for hypertension and heart disease, which is popping up in younger and younger women. Yikes.

So what can we do about it? Get our vitamins. Researchers found that B vitamins do a double dose of good for the PMS-plagued. Not only do women who consume high levels of them experience less severe PMS, the researchers also found that they were less likely to develop the high blood pressure later on. Reach for lots of dark leafy greens, lean protein, and yogurt to keep your B levels up. (To start you off, we've got 17 Creative Vegetarian Recipes Using Leafy Greens.)


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