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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (cont.)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Symptoms

Patient Comments

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:

  • Mood: Anxiety, nervousness, mood swings, irritability, depression, forgetfulness, confusion, insomnia, hostility
  • Behavior: Cravings for sweets, increased eating, crying, poor concentration, sensitivity to noise, changes in alcohol tolerance
  • Physical functions: Headache, heart palpitations, fatigue, dizziness, weight gain, bloating, breast swelling and tenderness, constipation, or diarrhea

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:

  • Depression (feeling despair or hopelessness, not just sadness)
  • Anxiety (keyed up, on edge)
  • Severe mood swings (feeling suddenly sad or extremely sensitive to rejection)
  • Anger or irritability
  • Decreased interest in usual activities (work, school, friends, hobbies)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased energy
  • Appetite changes (overeating or cravings for certain foods)
  • Sleep problems (can't sleep or wake up early, or oversleeping)
  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness or headaches
  • If these symptoms do not occur in sync with the menstrual cycle, the woman may have some other medical or mental health condition.
  • The symptoms of PMDD end with menopause, when menstruation stops and the levels of hormones that regulate menstruation no longer rise and fall each month.

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS):

Premenstrual Syndrome PMS - Symptoms

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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - Effective Treatments

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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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