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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. A significant portion 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.
  • Some 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.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2014

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Effective Treatments

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PMDD: A Severe Form of PMS

Medical Author: Melissa Stöppler, M.D.
Medical Editor: Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, refers to the changes in a woman's mood along with certain physical symptoms relating to her menstrual cyclethat are significant enough to affect her quality of life.

Most experts agree that while PMS can cause significant distress, some women seem to have even more severe cyclical symptoms that may actually lead to physical or mental loss of function. These women are considered to suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an unusually severe form of PMS.

The symptoms of PMDD generally begin the week before menstruation and end a few days after menstruation has begun. Women with PMDD may experience drastic mood swings, anger, depression, irritability, tension, sleepand appetite changes, fatigue, and physical problems such as pain or bloating. PMDD affects an estimated 5% to 10% of women of reproductive age.

The cause of PMDD (and PMS) is not certain but appears related to hormonal changes...

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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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