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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Definition

Premenstrual syndrome (known as PMS) involves a variety of physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms tied to a woman's menstrual cycle. By definition, symptoms occur during the two weeks before a woman's period starts, known as the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms typically become more intense in the 2-3 days prior to the period and usually resolve after the first day or two of flow.

PMS is a complex health concern. Around 20%-30% of menstruating women are believed to suffer from PMS.

  • PMS usually occurs in women in their fourth and fifth decades of life (aged 30-49 years). For a small number of women, it can be severely incapacitating. A woman who has had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may still experience PMS if at least one ovary remains.
  • Because many different processes may contribute to PMS, methods of treatment vary widely and can include medical and alternative approaches. Surgery is a last resort.
  • As many as 3%-8% of women may have a more severe condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMS and PMDD are not the same. Women with PMDD have more severe symptoms that have a significant impact upon their daily functions. The two may occur together, or a woman may have one and not the other.

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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Premenstrual Syndrome »

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a recurrent luteal phase condition characterized by physical, psychological, and behavioral changes of sufficient severity to result in deterioration of interpersonal relationships and normal activity.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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