• Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by physical and emotional symptoms that occur in a regular cycle beginning 1-2 weeks before the onset of menstrual flow and improve when menstrual bleeding starts. These symptoms can be extremely distressing and may include:
    • Irritability
    • Mood swings
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Low self-esteem
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Sleep problems
    • Appetite changes (sugar and/or salt cravings; overeating)
    • Weight gain
    • Fatigue
    • Bloating
    • Headache
    • Breast swelling and tenderness
    • Palpitations
    • Dizziness
    • Gastrointestinal upset
    • Muscle pain
    Although the symptoms of PMS may vary, the most common complaints are:
    • Irritability
    • Backache
    • Muscle pain
    • Bloating
    Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), five or more of the following symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of PMDD:
    • Physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness, bloating, and joint pain
    • Severe depression, possibly with suicidal thoughts
    • Anxiety, tension, or panic attacks
    • Severe irritability and anger
    • Mood swings
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Fatigue
    • Teariness
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Feeling out of control
    • Lack of interest in relationships, activities
    • Food cravings or binges


    American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Practice bulletin: premenstrual syndrome. ACOG. No. 15. April 2000.

    Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2000.

    Premenstrual syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated June 14, 2012. Accessed August 20, 2012.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome-pms.html . Updated August 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Women's Health.gov website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm . Updated May 18, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2012.

    Revision Information

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.