Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Premenstrual symptoms are a natural part of the menstrual cycle, affecting most women at some time during their lives. If your body doesn't react strongly to its monthly hormonal changes, you probably have mild premenstrual symptoms or none at all. But if you have one or more mild to moderate premenstrual symptoms that disrupt your work, relationships with others, or sense of well-being, you are said to have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMS symptoms vary greatly from woman to woman and cycle to cycle, and they can range from mild to severe. Some women note that their symptoms are worse during times of increased emotional or physical stress. Of the more than 150 symptoms that have been linked to PMS, the most common are listed below.
Emotional and cognitive symptoms
By definition, premenstrual symptoms only occur during the luteal phase, between ovulation and the start of menstrual bleeding, or soon after. Premenstrual symptoms can occur during the entire luteal phase or can appear briefly during ovulation, in the days leading up to menstrual bleeding, or both. You may notice that the severity and pattern of your PMS symptoms varies from month to month. You may also stop or start having PMS symptoms for no clear reason.
If you have severe premenstrual mood swings, depression, irritability, or anxiety (with or without physical symptoms), you are said to have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Symptoms generally subside within the first 3 days of menstrual bleeding. This severe type of PMS is not a common problem. It happens in only about 5 out of 100 women.1 Women with PMDD symptoms tend to report that they:
Premenstrual worsening of other conditions
You may notice that symptoms of other medical conditions get worse between ovulation and the first day of menstrual bleeding—this is called menstrual magnification. The conditions most affected are:
Are my symptoms truly premenstrual, starting after I ovulate?
What seems like PMS can sometimes be caused by another condition. It's important to know, because your treatment options will be different if your symptoms aren't actually linked to premenstrual hormone changes. The best way to learn whether your symptoms are premenstrual is to know when you ovulate (the day you ovulate is the start of your premenstrual phase). Keep track of ovulation days, a daily record of your symptoms, and menstrual bleeding days in a menstrual diary(What is a PDF document?). There are many ways to record symptoms so you can find one that works for you.
You can most accurately pinpoint your ovulation day by monitoring your cervical mucus, your basal body temperature (BBT), and your luteinizing hormone (LH) changes with an ovulation test. Traditionally, ovulation was thought to happen 14 days before the next menstrual period, or on day 15 of a 28-day cycle. But ovulation dates often vary from woman to woman and from month to month.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.