Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is used to describe physical or behavioral changes that some women experience in the week or two weeks before your period and usually go away after your period starts. PMS can produce discomfort in different parts of the body; it can also cause unpleasant emotional feelings. Women of all ages can be affected by PMS. These symptoms can reappear at the same time each month.

Most women with PMS have symptoms that cause a mild or moderate degree of distress. In about 10% of women with PMS, symptoms may be severe. Most women will only experience certain symptoms and severity of discomfort felt varies from woman to woman. The symptoms appear at some time during the last half of the cycle and usually disappear promptly as soon as the period begins.

Some physical changes that some women experience:

  • bloating & weight gain

  • breast soreness

  • abdominal pain

  • headache

  • gastrointestinal symptoms

  • swollen hands and feet

  • fatigue

Behavioral changes that can occur:

  • depression

  • angry outbursts

  • irritability

  • anxiety

  • tension

  • mood swings - including crying spells

  • inability to concentrate

  • change in sex drive

  • insomnia

Small changes in your diet and exercise routine can provide some relief. Try avoiding salt and reducing caffeine. For many women, regular aerobic exercise lessens PMS symptoms. It may reduce fatigue and depression. Aerobic exercise, which includes brisk walking, running, cycling, and swimming, increases your heart rate and lung function. Exercise regularly, not just during the days that you have symptoms. A good goal is at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.