Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a disorder marked by physical and emotional symptoms. It affects women 1-2 weeks before the beginning of their menstrual period.
The Menstrual Flow
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While the exact cause is not known, PMS may be related to certain factors (environmental, metabolic, or behavioral) that may make a woman more vulnerable to the hormonal changes that occur during menstruation.
PMS most often occurs in women aged 25-40 years. Other factors that may increase your chance of PMS include:
PMS may cause:
Symptoms usually improve when bleeding starts (menstrual period).
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done.
You will be asked to keep a detailed record of your monthly physical and emotional symptoms. If caused by PMS, these symptoms will likely occur 1-2 weeks before your menstrual period. You may have PMS if symptoms occur at the same phase of the menstrual cycle each month.
Treatment options include:
Dietary changes may be helpful. Decreasing salt, sugar, and caffeinemay be advised. Eating small, frequent meals may also help.
The following vitamin and mineral supplements might reduce PMS symptoms:
Exercising throughout the week may help to reduce symptoms.
Medications to treat PMS include:
To help reduce your chance of getting PMS, take the following steps:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Women's Health—Office on Women's Health
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Premenstrual syndrome. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: https://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq057.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20120824T1006488269. Updated May 2015. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Premenstrual syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113966/Premenstrual-syndrome. Updated October 5, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at:
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Updated February 6, 2017. Accessed September 7, 2017.
4/14/2009 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113966/Premenstrual-syndrome: Brown J, Shaughn O'Brien PM, Marjoribanks J, Wyatt K. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(1):CD001396.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
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