PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 5/30/2017

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of unpleasant symptoms linked to a woman's menstrual cycle, typically occurring one to two weeks before the menstrual period begins. PMS symptoms vary widely among women and range in severity from mild to debilitating. PMS typically includes physical and emotional symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of PMS include

Other symptoms often reported are

  • joint pain,
  • sleep disturbances,
  • appetite changes,
  • food cravings,
  • tension,
  • crying spells, and
  • tenderness or pain in the breasts.

Sometimes women who suffer from PMS note that they have difficulty concentrating or problems with memory when symptoms are present.

Causes of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

The exact cause of PMS is unknown but may be related to interactions between sex hormones and brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).

Related Symptoms & Signs


"Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Fact Sheet." Feb. 6, 2017. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2017
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