• 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
    • Lightheadedness
    • 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-5), 5 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


    Premenstrual syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 14, 2012. Accessed August 24, 2012.

    Premenstrual syndrome. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Premenstrual-Syndrome-PMS. Accessed August 24, 2012.

    Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/premenstrual-syndrome.html. Accessed August 24, 2012.

    Saedi GA. The inclusion of PMDD in DSM-5. Psychology Today website. Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/millennial-media/201202/the-inclusion-pmdd-in-dsm-5. Updated February 13, 2012. Accessed August 24. 2012.

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