Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)
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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS): A woman with PMS will have monthly cycles of symptoms in mood, behavior, and/or physical functioning. Though bothersome, these symptoms are usually not severe enough to interrupt a normal lifestyle. Most women who experience PMS symptoms cope with symptoms at home. A few may seek medical care for very severe symptoms. These symptoms affect the following:
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): This is a more severe condition than PMS. It is only diagnosed when symptoms are so bad that they make it hard for a woman to function normally. While the mood symptoms are similar to the mood symptoms of PMS, they are worse and cause more problems. The physical symptoms of PMS may or may not be present.
Like PMS, the symptoms of PMDD start 7-14 days before a woman's period and go away once the period starts. Unlike PMS, PMDD can seriously affect a woman's daily activities. PMDD is diagnosed as a mental health disorder.
A woman may have PMDD if she has five or more of the following symptoms during the premenstrual week and for most cycles during the past year:
How Can I Tell If It's PMS or If I'm Pregnant?
Some symptoms of PMS, particularly breast tenderness, mood changes, bloating and fatigue, can also occur in early pregnancy. Sometimes these PMS symptoms can be confused with symptoms of pregnancy. The only way to tell if you are pregnant, if you have not gotten your menstrual period, is to take a pregnancy test.
When to Seek Medical Care for PMS
If a woman has symptoms of PMS that do not go away within 3-4 days of the start of her period, call a doctor. The woman may have a different medical problem.
When the typical symptoms of PMS become so severe that lifestyle is drastically altered, talk with a doctor.
Is There a Test to Diagnose Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
The health-care professional will talk with the patient about her symptoms and when they occur each month. Keep track of symptoms, particularly noting when they occur during the menstrual cycle. The health care practitioner may ask the patient to keep accurate records or diary of symptoms throughout the next month or two. These records give the patient and health-care professional a better understanding of the symptoms and how they relate to the patient's menstrual cycle.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016
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