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    Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


    Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

    Updated on 3 April 2023

    A woman experiences a slew of symptoms in the days or weeks leading up to her period which are collectively known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Most women experience PMS at some point in their life and it can even affect their daily life. In this article, we will learn what is PMS, the common symptoms, its causes and their treatment.

    What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

    Premenstrual syndrome is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that a woman may experience before her period arrives. PMS symptoms can range from emotions like irritability and depression to physical symptoms like bloating or breast pain. These symptoms tend to arrive 1-2 weeks before your period and return around the same time each month.

    How Common is PMS?

    Having one or a few PMS symptoms is extremely common but clinically significant pre menstruation syndrome occurs in only 3-8 per cent of menstruating women.

    Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome

    Every woman’s symptoms tend to differ and may even vary from month to month. The most common PMS symptoms include:

    • Mood swings
    • Feeling anxious, upset or irritable
    • Fatigue or trouble sleeping
    • Bloating or stomach ache
    • Breast tenderness
    • Headache
    • Changes in appetite and sex drive
    • Spotty skin
    • Greasy hair

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    Causes of PMS

    It isn’t fully understood why some women experience pre menstruation syndrome. However, it’s possible that the hormone changes during the menstrual cycle cause some women to experience PMS symptoms. Symptoms usually arise after ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg and hormones estrogen and progesterone tend to dip around this time. Symptoms may even go away after the period as the hormone levels start to rise again.

    Do's and Don'ts in PMS

    Here are some do’s and don’ts you can follow to manage pre menstruation syndrome and its symptoms:

    • Exercise regularly

    • Consume a healthy, balanced diet and try to eat smaller, frequent meals rather than eating 3 large meals a day

    • Try to sleep for 7 to 8 hours a day

    • Aim to reduce your stress by trying yoga or meditation

    • Take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help ease the pain

    • Track your symptoms for at least 2-3 menstrual cycles and discuss them with a doctor

    • Do not smoke or drink too much alcohol

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    Relation Between PMS and Premenstrual Exacerbation (PME)

    Pre menstruation syndrome also shares symptoms with some other conditions, which may exacerbate before or around your period. These conditions include:

    1. Depression and anxiety

    Feelings of sadness, irritability and isolation along with mood swings may get more intense around your period.

    2. Myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome

    Fatigue along with joint and muscle pain can worsen in the days and weeks before your period. You are also likely to experience heavy menstrual bleeding or go through menopause early with ME or CFS.

    2. Irritable bowel syndrome

    Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like gas, bloating and cramps can intensify alongside PMS.

    A doctor can help you identify whether the symptoms you experience are signs of PMS or if you have a condition that exacerbates when you’re about to have your period. A diagnosis is important to rule out conditions that share symptoms with PMS.

    Treatment for Premenstrual Syndrome

    Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for pre menstruation syndrome but its symptoms gradually go away as you experience menopause. Until then, there are plenty of things you can do to manage your PMS symptoms.

    1. Medications

    There are certain OTC and prescribed medications that can help you manage PMS symptoms.

    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and aspirin can help relieve breast pain and menstrual cramps if you take them before or during your periods.

    • Some hormonal birth control methods such as pills, patches or rings may also prevent physical symptoms like pain and tenderness.

    • Selective anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicines can also treat mood-related issues.

    • Certain diuretics can provide relief with bloating and breast tenderness.

    2. Lifestyle changes

    Making some small changes to your lifestyle can help reduce pain and combat mood-related PMS symptoms

    • Exercising regularly for 30 minutes each day can boost your mood, reduce stress and maintain your general well-being.

    • Consume a healthy and balanced diet and limit salty, oily and sugary foods along with caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.

    • Eating smaller, frequent meals rather than eating 3 large meals a day.

    • Regulate your sleep cycle and try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day.

    • Practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness to reduce stress, irritability and sadness.

    3. Vitamins, minerals and supplements

    It’s possible that consuming certain vitamins, minerals and supplements such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, omega 3 and omega 6 and herbal supplements may help you with pre menstruation syndrome.

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    1. When do premenstrual symptoms start?

    PMS symptoms can start a few days or weeks before your period arrives.

    2. Does premenstrual syndrome mean your period is coming?

    Yes, it is a combination of emotional and physical symptoms that occur when your period is approaching.

    3. What age do PMS symptoms start?

    These symptoms can show up any time between puberty to menopause but late 20s to early 30s are the most common age for premenstrual syndrome to start.

    Is this helpful?



    Written by

    Sanju Rathi

    A Postgraduate in English Literature and a professional diploma holder in Interior Design and Display, Sanju started her career as English TGT. Always interested in writing, shetook to freelance writing to pursue her passion side by side. As a content specialist, She is actively producing and providing content in every possible niche.

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