Premenstrual Syndrome PMS: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention, And Treatment

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) includes physical and emotional syndromes before menstruation. Many women experience these symptoms, which differ greatly in intensity and type among women. They may also change each month.

PMS can greatly impact the daily lives of the women affected by it. Understanding symptoms, causes, and treatments can help manage it. In this article, we shed light on various aspects of PMS. 

Symptoms Of PMS: Emotional, Physical And Behavioral Symptoms

There are various symptoms of PMS. They differ from woman to woman. Some common symptoms of PMS are:

Symptoms Of PMS
  • Mood Swings: Mood swings are common emotional responses during this phase. One may experience increased irritability, sadness, anxiety, and stress.
  • Physical Discomfort: Bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches are signs of physical discomfort. These are common physical symptoms most women often report.
  • Fatigue: Many women feel unusually tired or sleepy during premenstrual syndrome.
  • Food Craving: Food cravings are sudden and intense desires for specific types of food. These cravings are often for sweet or salty items. Food cravings are a classic symptom of PMS.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling asleep or maintaining large amounts of sleep is expected during this period. 
  • Acne: Skin issues, including pimples and breakouts, can intensify due to hormonal changes.
  • Gut problem: Experiencing constipation or diarrhea can occur. It may be linked to dietary changes or stress.
  • Joint and Muscle pain: Some women may experience aches and pains in various body areas.

What Causes PMS?

The causes of PMS are not yet very clear, but various factors may lead to the development of PMS. those include:

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes are due to fluctuations in hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone levels play the main role in these fluctuations.
  • Changes in Brain Chemicals: These changes involve neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Chemical changes in the brain can influence mood and emotions.
  • Genetics: A family history of MS may increase the likelihood of experiencing similar symptoms.
  • Stress: An increase in stress levels may worsen the MS symptoms, making them stronger.

Premenstrual Syndrome vs Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder PMDD

There is a difference between PMS and PMDD. Understanding the difference between these two is crucial:

  • Symptom Severity: PMS symptoms vary in intensity, but PMDD symptoms are severe. PMDD symptoms are debilitating and much worse than PMS symptoms.
  • Duration: PMS typically happens before menstruation and goes away when the period starts. PMDD  symptoms can last longer than PMS symptoms.
  • Symptoms Types: PMS includes mood swings, physical discomfort, and food cravings. More severe emotional symptoms characterize PMDD.
  • Impact on Daily Life: MS may cause discomfort but usually does not disrupt daily life significantly; in contrast, PMDD  can profoundly impact daily functioning, including personal relationships and responsibilities.
  • Treatment: PMS can be managed with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications. PMDD needs more intense treatment, like antidepressants and hormonal therapies. 

Treatment Options For PMS

There are various treatments available for managing PMS symptoms: 

  • Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise is a foundational strategy for reducing PMS symptoms. A balanced diet is another foundational strategy for reducing PMS symptoms. Effective stress management is also important for reducing PMS symptoms.
  • Medications: Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter pain reliever that eases physical discomfort. Hormonal birth control methods can help regulate hormonal fluctuations.
  • Alternative Therapies: Non-traditional approaches, such as acupuncture and massage therapy, are beneficial in managing PMS. relaxation techniques, like yoga and meditation, are also helpful for PMS.
  • Prescription Medications: Doctors may prescribe antidepressants in more severe cases. They may also suggest other specific medications to manage the mood-related symptoms.

Managing PMS With Medications

Effective management of MS through medications involves multiple approaches: 

  • Consultation: A healthcare provider should perform a thorough evaluation to assess PMS symptoms accurately.
  • Prescription Medications: SSRIs like fluoxetine or sertraline can help with mood symptoms. These benefits can occur throughout the cycle or during the luteal period. Hormonal treatments, such as birth control pills, can be prescribed. They may help regulate hormonal imbalances.
  • Following Medical Advice: Adherence to prescribed medical regimes is essential for effectively managing PMS.
  • Monitoring for Side Effects: Being vigilant about potential medication side effects and reporting any adverse reactions to a healthcare provider is critical.
  • Regular Follow-Ups: Follow-up appointments are scheduled to assess treatment and effectiveness and adjust accordingly.
  • Personalized Approach: Treatment plans should be customized to address each individual’s specific symptoms and needs.

Preventing PMS

It is not always possible to completely prevent MS. However, certain strategies can help reduce its impact:

  • Regular Exercise: physical activity can help regulate hormone levels and improve overall mood and well-being.
  • Balanced Diet: Eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein promotes health. It may also relieve certain symptoms of PMS.
  • Stress Management: Using stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness meditation is beneficial. Other relaxation techniques can also help reduce stress.
  • Limiting Caffeine and Alcohol: Reducing the intake of substances like caffeine and alcohol is often recommended. Those substances can worsen PMS symptoms.

When To See a Doctor

Recognizing when professional medical advice is needed for MS symptoms is crucial. This includes situations where:

  • PMS symptoms are very severe and significantly disrupt daily activities.
  • New or unusual symptoms are noticed.
  • There is a sudden worsening or change in MS symptoms.
  • Irregularities in the menstrual cycle occur, such as missed periods.
  • An underlying medical condition is suspected, contributing to the PMS symptoms.

Home Remedies For PMS

Besides medical treatments and preventive measures, several home remedies may offer relief: 

  • Heat Therapy: Applying heat to the lower abdomen eases menstrual cramps. A heating pad or warm water bottle can be used.
  • Herbal Teas: Herbal teas, such as chamomile, ginger, and peppermint, aid digestion. They also induce relaxation.
  • Dietary adjustments: Reducing salt, sugar, and caffeine before menstruation alleviates bloating. It can also help reduce mood swings.
  • Aromatherapy: Using calming scents such as lavender or eucalyptus can Promote relaxation. Diffusers for essential oils are an effective tool for this purpose. 


Lastly, many women experience premenstrual syndrome, which can significantly impact their daily lives. However, women can manage PMS by understanding its causes and symptoms. They can explore various available treatment options. Each person’s experience with PMS is unique. Consulting a healthcare provider is crucial for finding the best management plan. Women can lessen PMS effects and live a healthier and more comfortable life.

Dr. Vanessa Rodriguez is a board-certified general practitioner with more than 15 years of patient care experience. She takes an integrative approach to patient care that considers the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and is deeply committed to assisting her patients in achieving and sustaining optimal health. Dr. Vanessa is also a skilled writer and medical reviewer, specializing in preventive care and health promotion. Her articles are written in an approachable manner that is simple to comprehend and implement in one’s own life. Dr. Vanessa’s mission is to equip her patients and readers with the knowledge and resources necessary to live their greatest lives.

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