Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a group of physical and emotional symptoms many women may have in the days before their period starts. Symptoms usually stop once the period starts. It’s thought to be related to the changing hormone levels of the menstrual cycle.

Lifestyle changes and sometimes medicine are used to treat PMS. 

What causes PMS?

The cause of PMS is unclear. It seems to be related to hormone fluctuations in the body. Changes in brain chemicals may also play a role.

What are the symptoms of PMS?

Symptoms may be slightly different for each woman. The following are the most common symptoms of PMS.

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Bloating and fluid buildup
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Backache or headache
  • Tender breasts
  • Forgetfulness and trouble concentrating
  • Acne
  • Food cravings

The symptoms of PMS may look like other conditions or medical problems. Talk with a healthcare provider for diagnosis.

How is PMS diagnosed?

Aside from a complete health history and physical and pelvic exam,
there are very few additional tests. Your healthcare provider may ask that you keep a
journal of your symptoms for several months to better assess the timing, severity,
onset, and duration of symptoms.