Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Also known as: PMS

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a group of uncomfortable symptoms or painful cramps that girls commonly experience just before or during their monthly period.

What causes premenstrual syndrome?

While the cause is unknown, there are many suggestions regarding the possible causes. These include changes in hormones levels, psychogenic factors and others.

What are the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome?

Symptoms may be mild to debilitatingly severe and can involve a broad range of systems. For example:

  • Gastrointestinal (abdominal cramps, bloating, nausea, vomiting, backache)
  • Fluid retention (weight gain, swelling of ankles, hands and feet)
  • Respiratory / Psychological (irritability, nervousness, fatigue, anxiety, depression, mental problems and many others)
  • Neurological / Vascular / Eye (headaches, fainting, palpitations, conjunctivitis and others)

In addition some will complain of acne, less sexual drive, trouble sleeping etc..

What are premenstrual syndrome care options?

Over-the-counter pain relievers, lifestyle changes like regular exercise, a healthy diet with less salt/caffeine/sugar, adequate sleep, stress reduction and oral contraceptives may all be of value in managing symptoms.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: February 03, 2021 03:47 PM

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