“PMS symptoms may get worse as you reach your
late 30s or 40s and approach menopause and are
in the transition to menopause, called perimenopause”.1

Umbrella
What may the Premenstrual Syndrome Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Premenstrual Mood Changes
  • Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
  • Premenstrual Tension (PMT)

Premenstrual Changes

What are premenstrual changes?

DotS the definition of premenstrual changes may vary. The (United States Massachusetts General Hospital) MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health explain:

“Many women in their reproductive years experience transient physical and emotional changes around the time of their period. In fact, at least 90% of women with regular menstrual cycles report unpleasant physical or psychological symptoms premenstrually. For the majority of women, these symptoms are mild and tolerable. However, for a certain group of women, these symptoms can be disabling and may cause significant disruption in their lives”.2

Premenstrual Syndrome

What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

DotS the definition of PMS may vary. The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health’s definition is:

“Premenstrual Syndrome, commonly referred to as PMS, is a broad term that typically refers to a general pattern of physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms occurring 1-2 weeks before and remitting with the onset of menses”.3

The (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health’s (JH) definition is:

“Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to the range of physical and emotional symptoms many women experience in the lead-up to a period”.4

Medline Plus’s definition is:

“PMS refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that most often occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. In most cases, the symptoms stop when, or shortly after, her period begins”.5

PMS Symptoms

What are some PMS symptoms?

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms the (United States) Mayo Clinic reassure:

“The list of potential signs and symptoms for premenstrual syndrome is long, but most women only experience a few of these problems”.6

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? the JH also note:

“Symptoms of PMS vary in intensity from woman to woman and can vary from one cycle to the next”.7

PMS Psychological Symptoms

What are PMS psychological/emotional symptoms?

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? the JH elaborate on:

“Emotional Symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Nervous tension
  • Lower coping ability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Wanting to be alone
  • Lower libido
  • Reduced interest in work and social life
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Sadness”.8

In PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health elaborate on:

“Psychological Symptoms:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sense of feeling overwhelmed
  • Sensitivity to rejection
  • Social withdrawal”.9

PMS Physical Symptoms

What are PMS physical symptoms?

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? the JH elaborate on:

“Physical Symptoms:

  • Fluid retention (swollen fingers or ankles)
  • Bloating around the abdomen
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Skin problems such as acne
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Poor coordination or clumsiness
  • Tiredness, lethargy, insomnia
  • Increase in weight
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Food cravings
  • Aches and pains”.10

In PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health elaborate on:

“Physical Symptoms:

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Appetite disturbance (usually increased)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Muscle aches and/or joint pain
  • Sleep disturbance (usually hypersomnia)
  • Swelling of extremities”.11

PMS Behavioural Symptoms

What are PMS behavioural symptoms?

In PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health elaborate on:

Behavioural Symptoms:

  • “Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor concentration”.12

PMS Common or Not

How common is PMS?

The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health note:

“PMS is common, affecting from 30-80% of women of reproductive age, though clinically significant PMS symptoms have been reported in 3-8% of patients”.13

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

DotS the definition of PMDD may vary. The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health’s definition is:

“Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome characterized by significant premenstrual mood disturbance, often with prominent mood reactivity and irritability. Symptoms of PMDD can emerge 1-2 weeks preceding menses and typically resolve with the onset of menses. This mood disturbance results in marked social or occupational impairment, with its most prominent effects in interpersonal functioning”.14

In Learn: PMDD the International Association For Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD) definition is:

“Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder with symptoms arising during the premenstrual, or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and subsiding within a few days of menstruation. It affects an estimated 5.5% of women and AFAB individuals of reproductive age. While PMDD is directly connected to the menstrual cycle, it is not a hormone imbalance. PMDD is a severe negative reaction in the brain to the natural rise and fall of estrogen and progesterone. It is a suspected cellular disorder in the brain. Symptoms can worsen over time and or around reproductive events such as menarche (the first menstrual cycle), pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, and perimenopause”.15

Depression or Not

How is depression different to PMS and PMDD?

The JH explain:

“PMS and PMDD have similar symptoms to depression. However, with PMS and PMDD, the symptoms get better completely as soon as menstruation begins, while those of depression do not.

PMS and PMDD need to be distinguished from underlying depression because the treatments are different”.16

Premenstrual Exacerbation

What is premenstrual exacerbation (PME)?

DotS the definition of PME may vary. In PMDD/PMS: Ruling Out Other Psychiatric Illnesses the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health explain:

“Mood disorders, such as major depression or bipolar disorder, can worsen during the premenstrual period and thus may mimic PMDD. When this occurs, the term premenstrual exacerbation or PME is used to refer to the mood worsening which occurs during the premenstrual phase. An estimated 40% of women who seek treatment for PMDD actually have a PME of an underlying mood disorder”.17

In Learn: PMDD the IAPM’s) definition is:

“Premenstrual Exacerbation (PME) refers to the premenstrual exacerbation/worsening of the symptoms of another disorder, such as major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder”.18

What is AFAB?

AFAB may be an abbreviation for Assigned Female At Birth.

Cause

What causes PMS?

In Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Diagnosis and Prevention the (United States) Endocrine Society note:

“Doctors are still searching for the exact cause of premenstrual syndrome or PMDD. Hormone levels are the same in women with or without PMS/PMDD. But it is thought that women with PMS/PMDD have a greater response to the fall in hormones that occurs in the days before a period. There may also be changes in neurotransmitters in the brain. Some women have a genetic risk factor for PMDD. Undiagnosed depression or anxiety can also lead to problems”.19

Predictable PatternPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Do PMS symptoms tend to recur in a predictable pattern?

Yes. The Mayo Clinic explain:

“Symptoms tend to recur in a predictable pattern. But the physical and emotional changes you experience with premenstrual syndrome may vary from just slightly noticeable all the way to intense”.20

Look for A PatternPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

How may I Look for A Pattern with PMS?

In Tracking Your Cycle & Symptoms the IAPMD explain:

PMDD cannot be diagnosed via blood, hormone, or saliva test. These tests can, however, rule out any underlying disorders including hormone imbalance or thyroid issues. The only way to currently test for PMDD is by tracking symptoms for a span of two more menstrual cycles”.21

In Menstrual Diary the (United Kingdom) National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome explain:

“A completed menstrual chart is the first step towards understanding your own menstrual health”.22

The JH note:

  • “It can be useful to keep a detailed daily diary of at least two menstrual cycles to see if there is a pattern with your symptoms to help you and your doctor discuss the best treatment options for you”.23

The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health also note:

“The best way to confirm the diagnosis of PMDD is by prospective daily charting of symptoms. Women with PMDD will experience a symptom-free interval between menses and ovulation (the proliferative phase)”.24

DiaryPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Where may I find a diary to keep a record of any symptoms I have?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Menopause

Is there an association between menopause and PMS?

The JH note:

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
“Women can feel depressed and/or experience changes in their mood around perimenopause (the months/years before menopause) when their hormone levels fluctuate. Menopause does not cause depression, but women who have had depression before menopause, or who have a history of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), may be more sensitive to the hormonal changes that menopause brings”.25

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Does PMS Change With Age? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov explain:

“Yes. PMS symptoms may get worse as you reach your late 30s or 40s and approach menopause and are in the transition to menopause, called perimenopause.

This is especially true for women whose moods are sensitive to changing hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. In the years leading up to menopause, your hormone levels also go up and down in an unpredictable way as your body slowly transitions to menopause. You may get the same mood changes, or they may get worse.

PMS stops after menopause when you no longer get a period”.26

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with PMS, PMDD or PME?

If you would like help with PMS, PMDD or PME, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The Mayo Clinic explain:

“If you haven’t been able to manage your premenstrual syndrome with lifestyle changes and the symptoms of PMS are affecting your health and daily activities, see your doctor”.27

The JH note:

  • “If symptoms persist and interfere with daily activities, see your doctor or seek referral to a gynaecologist with expertise in PMS”.28

In PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome): Treating PMS the (United Kingdom) NHS (National Health Service) also note:

“As well as changes to your lifestyle, a GP can recommend treatments including:

  • Hormonal medicine – such as the combined contraceptive pill
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – a talking therapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Dietary Supplements

If you still get symptoms after trying these treatments, you may be referred to a specialist.

This could be a gynaecologist, psychiatrist or counsellor”.29

Who is a GP?

DotS and DotC (Depending on the Country) a GP may be a qualified and registered general practitioner, a medical practitioner, a medical doctor or a doctor.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Premenstrual Syndrome?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Premenstrual Syndrome Links?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Does PMS Change With Age? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: 09 May 2022
  2. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Mood Changes. MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  3. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  4. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Review Date: 03 December 2020. Medline Plus https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007193.htm Accessed: 09 May 2022
  6. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms. 25 February 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  7. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  8. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  9. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  10. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  11. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  12. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  13. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  14. PMDD/PMS: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  15. Learn: PMDD. International Association For Premenstrual Disorders https://iapmd.org/pam-learn Accessed: 09 May 2022
  16. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): How Are PMS & PMDD Different From Depression? Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  17. PMDD/PMS: Ruling Out Other Psychiatric Illnesses. MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  18. Learn: PME. International Association For Premenstrual Disorders https://iapmd.org/pam-learn Accessed: 09 May 2022
  19. Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Diagnosis and Prevention: 23 January 2022. Endocrine Society https://www.endocrine.org/patient-engagement/endocrine-library/pms-and-pmdd Accessed: 09 May 2022
  20. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 25 February 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  21. Tracking Your Cycle & Symptom. International Association for Premenstrual Disorders https://iapmd.org/symptom-tracker Accessed: 09 May 2022
  22. Menstrual Diary. National Association for Premenstrual Syndromes https://www.pms.org.uk/support/menstrual-diary/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  23. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Management & Treatment of PMS Symptoms – Things To Keep In Mind. Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  24. PMDD/PMS: Non-Pharmacologic Treatment for PMS and PMDD – Monthly Mood Charting. MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health https://womensmentalhealth.org/specialty-clinics/pms-and-pmdd/?doing_wp_cron=1487262997.9087479114532470703125 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  25. Symptoms of Menopause: Menopause & Mood. Last Updated: 24 March 2021 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms Accessed: 09 May 2022
  26. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Does PMS Change With Age? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2022. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: 09 May 2022
  27. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms: When To See A Doctor. 07 February 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 09 May 2022
  28. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Management & Treatment of PMS Symptoms – Things To Keep In Mind. Last Updated: 18 November 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 09 May 2022
  29. (PMS) Premenstrual Syndrome: Treating PMS. Page Last Reviewed: 09 June 2021. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-menstrual-syndrome/ Accessed: 09 May 2022

Topic Last Updated: 26 June 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 09 May 2022
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