Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a group of emotional and physical symptoms a woman experiences a week or two before her period starts. PMS is a very common condition; it is estimated that 85% of women experience at least one symptom of PMS as part of their monthly cycle.
PMS is usually mild or moderate in most women but some women may experience severe symptoms, making it difficult for them to get through the day. Whether mild, moderate or severe, PMS typically goes away once bleeding starts.
Although the cause of PMS is not clear, changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle is believed to play a major role. Chemical changes in the brain are also believed to be involved.
What are the symptoms of PMS?
- Sore breasts
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Abdominal bloating
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Food cravings, especially for sweets
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability or mood swings
- Feeling tired
- Anxiety or depression
- Joint or muscle pain
Who is more likely to have PMS?
Although PMS is common, certain factors makes it more likely a woman would experience it. These factors include:
- Family history of depression
- A medical history of postpartum depression or mood disorder
- Having at least one child
- Age between late 20s and early 40s
Can PMS be treated?
When it comes to treating PMS, there is no single treatment that works for every woman. There are quite a number of things that are known to provide relief from PMS therefore a woman might need to try out a few to find the one that works best for her.