SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to the physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience in the lead up to menstruation.
- PMS symptoms can impact on quality of life.
- Symptoms usually stop during or at the beginning of the menstrual period. There is at least one symptom-free week before symptoms start returning.
- Keep a detailed diary for at least two menstrual cycles to work out if your symptoms are caused by PMS.
What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?
Sometimes symptoms can be more severe. This is called ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder’ (PMDD). PMDD affects about 3% to 8% of women.
Symptoms of PMS
Everyone experiences PMS differently. And symptoms can change from cycle to cycle.
Symptoms can be physical, for example, you may have:
You may also experience:
Symptoms can also be emotional, for example:
What causes PMS?
It’s not clear why some women have PMS, but it may be associated with how certain chemicals in the brain interact with the hormone progesterone.
Different factors can influence PMS, for example, your:
Getting a diagnosis
There are no tests for PMS. Your doctor may diagnose PMS based on your symptoms and medical history.
You can record your symptoms over at least two menstrual cycles and discuss any patterns with your doctor.
There are many things you can do to manage PMS.
A healthy lifestyle can help reduce PMS symptoms, for example:
- increase your - 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days will increase your ‘feel-good’ hormones (endorphins)
- (e.g. lean , , and )
- drink lots of and reduce and , especially two weeks before your period
- reduce – take time out do things you enjoy
- try relaxation techniques such as and
- get enough and rest.
Medicine and hormone treatments
Your doctor may recommend different medicines, for example:
- hormonal treatments, such as the , may help by suppressing
- certain antidepressants can help with complex mood symptoms.
- chaste tree (also called ‘chaste berry’)
- vitamin B6
- evening primrose oil.
Make sure you get advice from a qualified and experienced health practitioner, such as a herbalist, or , before using complementary therapies. And always tell your if you are taking any complementary medicines.
When to see your doctor
See your doctor if:
- PMS symptoms are bothering you
- symptoms persist despite lifestyle changes
- medicine or hormonal treatments don’t improve your symptoms
- symptoms stop you from doing things you want to do.
Where to get help
- , 2018, Mayo Clinic, USA.
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