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

The (United Kingdom) (United Kingdom) NHS’s (National Health Service) definition is:

“PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is the name for the symptoms women can experience in the weeks before their period”.5

Symptoms

What are the most common symptoms of PMS?

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 elaborate on:

“Symptoms of PMS vary in intensity from woman to woman and can vary from one cycle to the next. The most common symptoms include: 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
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 diarrhoea
  • Food cravings
  • Aches and pains”.7

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
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
Behavioural Symptoms:
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
  • Poor concentration”.8

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.”.9

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”.10

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”.11

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”.12

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”.13

Cause

What causes PMS?

The Womenshealth.gov note:

“Researchers do not know exactly what causes PMS. Changes in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle may play a role. These changing hormone levels may affect some women more than others”.14

In About PMS: What Causes PMS? the (United Kingdom) National Association for PMS (NAPS) explain:

“The precise causes of PMS have still to be identified but there is compelling evidence that symptoms are directly related to the fluctuation of hormone levels in the monthly cycle. As PMS is absent before puberty (onset of menstruation), in pregnancy and after the menopause there is clear indication that cyclical ovarian activity is an important factor in explaining PMS”.15

Look for A PatternPremenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

How may I Look for A Pattern with PMS?

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”.16

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

“Keeping a monthly mood chart can be informative and even therapeutic for many women. In addition to confirming the diagnosis, many women feel better if they can identify the relationship between their cycles and mood changes and can thus anticipate times at which they may be at risk for mood worsening”.17

In Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): How Is PMS Diagnosed? the Womenshealth.gov elaborate on:

“Keep track of which PMS symptoms you have and how severe they are for a few months. Write down your symptoms each day on a calendar or with an app on your phone. Take this information with you when you see your doctor”.18

Diary

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

Your Country may have Links similar to:

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”.19

Treatment

How are PMS and PMDD treated?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help with PMS or PMDD?

If you would like help with PMS or PMDD, 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”.20

The JH note:

  • “If symptoms persist and interfere with daily activities, see your doctor or seek referral to a gynaecologist with expertise in PMS”.21

The NHS 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
If you still get symptoms after trying these treatments, you may be referred to a specialist. This could be a gynaecologist, psychiatrist or counsellor”.22

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). Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  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: 29 March 2020
  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: 29 March 2020
  4. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  5. PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Page Last Reviewed: 20 April 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-menstrual-syndrome/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  6. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms. 07 February 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 29 March 2020
  7. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Are the Symptoms of PMS? Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  8. 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: 29 March 2020
  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: 29 March 2020
  10. 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: 29 March 2020
  11. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): How Are PMS & PMDD Different From Depression? Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  12. Symptoms of Menopause: Menopause & Mood. Last Updated: 04 March 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/menopause-symptoms Accessed: 29 March 2020
  13. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Does PMS Change With Age? Medical Review In 2017. Page Last Updated: 16 March 2018. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: 29 March 2020
  14. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): What Causes PMS? Medical Review In 2017. Page Last Updated: 16 March 2018. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: 29 March 2020
  15. About PMS: What Causes PMS? National Association for PMS http://www.pms.org.uk/about Accessed: 29 March 2020
  16. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Management & Treatment of PMS Symptoms – Things To Keep In Mind. Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 December 2017. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  17. 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: 29 March 2020
  18. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): How Is PMS Diagnosed? Medical Review In 2017. Page Last Updated: 16 March 2018. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/menstrual-cycle/premenstrual-syndrome Accessed: 29 March 2020
  19. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 07 February 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 29 March 2020
  20. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms: When To See A Doctor. 07 February 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780 Accessed: 29 March 2020
  21. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Management & Treatment of PMS Symptoms – Things To Keep In Mind. Last Updated: 30 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 10 July 2018. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/periods/premenstrual-syndrome-pms/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
  22. (PMS) Premenstrual Syndrome: Treating PMS. Page Last Reviewed: 20 April 2018. NHS (National Health Service) https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pre-menstrual-syndrome/ Accessed: 29 March 2020
Topic Last Updated: 27 April 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 29 March 2020
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