Illustration: Quentin Monge

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As if bloating, achiness, and irritability weren't enough, your monthly period has another way of making you feel lousy: It can actually exacerbate certain chronic health issues. The phenomenon is called premenstrual magnification, or PMM, and is characterized by preperiod flare-ups of conditions that are sensitive to hormonal fluctuations—everything from bulimia to asthma. Fortunately, experts are becoming more adept at treating these monthly spikes. Of course, "nothing gets better when you're premenstrual," says Nanette Santoro, MD, professor and chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado at Denver, but you can take steps to make sure your symptoms don't get worse. Three common conditions affected by PMM:
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.