Premenstrual Syndrome
(PMS)

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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) facts

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a set of specific physical and psychological features.
  • Physical symptoms of PMS include breast tenderness and bloating.
  • Psychological changes or PMS may include anger and depression.
  • PMS occurs in the last half of a woman's menstrual cycle.
  • The exact cause is unknown but is believed to be related to interactions between sex hormones and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).
  • PMS must be distinguished from other disorders that produce similar symptoms.
  • A helpful diagnostic tool for PMS is a menstrual diary.
  • Treatment options for PMS include exercise, a healthy lifestyle, emotional support from family and friends, and medications.
  • Possible medical treatments for PMS include diuretics, pain killers, oral contraceptives, drugs that suppress ovarian function, and antidepressants.

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of emotional, physical, psychological, and mood disturbances that occur after a woman's ovulation and typically ending with the onset of her menstrual flow. The most common mood-related symptoms are irritability, depression, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings. The most common physical symptoms are fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness (mastalgia), acne, and appetite changes with food cravings.

A more severe form of PMS, known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), also known as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder, occurs in a smaller number of women and leads to significant loss of function because of unusually severe symptoms. The American Psychiatric Association characterizes PMDD as a severe form of PMS in which anger, irritability, and anxiety or tension are especially prominent.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/19/2014

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