A Swedish woman has taken to Instagram to show the reality of the PMS symptoms she - and millions of other women around the world - deal with every month. Over the weekend Malin Olofsson, a 27-year-old weight lifter, shared a photo showing her stomach and explained that she experiences intense bloating when she's on her period.
Malin admitted that her bloated stomach occasionally led people to presume she's pregnant, but she has accepted that it is a "very normal and common symptom of PMS". Posting a lengthy caption on social media, she explained: "This is the visual signs of PMS for me and many other women. For some it's less extreme, for some it's more. Water retention is a very normal and common symptom of PMS. Some women will hardly notice it and some go through immense discomfort for a couple of days a month. It can start anytime between ovulation and your period. THIS IS NORMAL."
Malin Olofsson said she experiences intense bloating each month
The body positive advocate added that the physical symptoms were "nothing to be ashamed of", telling followers: "Yes - it is very uncomfortable, and yes - it is really difficult to not feel like you must hide it and try to suck your stomach in. I've stopped. I've decided that breathing is more important than what other people may or might think. I've decided that my body's reaction to the hormonal change is not going to be an aspect that I let contribute to my already unstable mental state. Because when I have PMS, I already feel like dying. And I've decided to love my body no matter how I feel about life."
Malin ended her post by encouraging other women not to get hung up over any physical changes to their bodies and instead focus on looking after themselves. She wrote: "Do not blame your body for how you're feeling. It is never your body's fault. It is never anything wrong with how your body looks. Yes - your body might experience discomfort due to hormonal changes - so instead of making it worse through shaming your body, try doing the opposite. Realise that this is when you need extra self-care and self-love. Realise that you don't have to be ashamed and hide. You are perfect and your body is just doing its job."
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