Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a disorder marked by physical and emotional symptoms. It affects women 1-2 weeks before the beginning of their menstrual period.

  • Causes

    While the exact cause is not known, PMS may be related to certain factors (eg, environmental, metabolic, or behavioral factors) that may make a woman more vulnerable to the hormonal changes that occur during menstruation.

  • Definition

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a disorder marked by physical and emotional symptoms. It affects women 1-2 weeks before the beginning of their menstrual period.

    The Menstrual Flow
    IMAGE
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  • Diagnosis

    Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done.

    You will be asked to keep a detailed record of your monthly physical and emotional symptoms. If caused by PMS, these symptoms will likely occur 1-2 weeks before your menstrual period. You may have PMS if symptoms occur at the same phase of the menstrual cycle each month.

  • Prevention

    To help reduce your chance of getting PMS, take the following steps:

    • Manage stress.

    • Eat a healthy diet, one that is
      low in saturated fat
      and rich in
      whole grains
      and
      fruits and vegetables
      .
    • Consume less refined sugar, salt, and caffeine.
    • Do regular aerobic exercise.

  • Risk Factors

    Factors that may increase the risk of PMS include:

    • Age: 25-40
    • Going off
      birth control pills
    • Major life stress
    • Depression

  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:

    • Irritability
    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Diminished self-esteem
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Sleep problems
    • Appetite changes (eg, sugar and/or salt cravings, overeating)
    • Weight gain
    • Fatigue
    • Bloating
    • Headache
    • Breast swelling and tenderness
    • Palpitations
    • Dizziness
    • Gastrointestinal upset
    • Muscle pain

    Symptoms usually improve when bleeding starts (menstrual period).

  • Treatment

    Treatment options include: