What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the set of physical and mental symptoms you may have around the time of your menstrual period. The symptoms bother some women more than others.
PMS may be partly caused by changes in your hormone levels during your menstrual cycle
Some women have a more severe form of PMS that interferes with daily life, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder
You can ease your symptoms by being active, not eating certain foods and drinks, and sometimes by taking medicine
What causes PMS?
PMS is partly caused by the rise and fall of certain female hormones in your body, such as estrogen and progesterone.
PMS may run in families.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
Symptoms can begin up to 10 days before your period and usually end when your period starts. Symptoms may get worse and last longer as you get closer to menopause Menopause Menopause is when women stop having periods (stop menstruating) and can no longer get pregnant. Menopause usually happens after age 40. In the United States, the average age for menopause is... read more (when you stop having periods).
Mental and emotional symptoms can include:
Mood swings (swinging back and forth between feeling very happy and very sad)
Not wanting to be around other people
A hard time focusing
Physical symptoms can include:
Breast fullness or tenderness
Cramps, heaviness, or pressure in your lower belly
Difficulty falling asleep or remaining asleep
Feeling sick to your stomach or throwing up
Tired or low energy
Back pain, joint and muscle pain
The following disorders aren't PMS. But if you have one of these, your symptoms of that disorder may get worse during PMS:
Connective tissue disorders, such as lupus Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory connective tissue disorder that can involve joints, kidneys, skin, mucous membranes, and blood vessel walls. Problems in the... read more or rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Arthritis is a group of diseases that makes your joints hurt, swell up, and turn red. There are many different types of arthritis. RA is a type of arthritis in which your body's immune system... read more
Breathing disorders, such as asthma and allergies
If your PMS is so bad it interferes with your daily life, you may have a severe form called premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
How can doctors tell if I have PMS?
Doctors can tell if you have PMS based on your symptoms and when they happen.
How do doctors treat PMS?
Some things may help your PMS symptoms:
Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
Be active regularly
Lower your stress by doing meditation or relaxation exercises
Eat more protein and calcium (for example, fish and milk)
Eat less salt, sugar, and caffeine (for example, chips, cookies, and coffee)
Doctors may have you take:
Vitamins and supplements, such as vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium
Diuretics (water pills), which make you urinate more and may help ease bloating
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, to help with headaches, cramps, or joint and muscle pain
Birth control pills
If you have severe PMS symptoms or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, doctors may have you take:
Antidepressants (medicine that helps your mood)
A hormone called a GnRH agonist so your ovaries make a smaller amount of female hormones
If you have symptoms of depression Depression Depression is feeling too sad or sluggish to do your daily tasks or take part in activities you usually enjoy. It’s normal to feel sad after something sad happens, such as a death or loss—depression... read more , doctors may send you to a mental health care provider for testing and treatment.