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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), also called premenstrual tension (PMT) is a collection of emotional symptoms, with or without physical symptoms, related to a woman's menstrual cycle.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About PMS

Many women experience abdominal pain or a headache, are tense, sad and irritable or feel bloated and uncomfortable in the days leading up to their period. The medical term for this is "premenstrual syndrome" (PMS), also known as "premenstrual tension" (PMT).

PMS symptoms are usually not very severe, and most women cope well with them. But some women have such severe PMS that they are unable to go about their everyday lives during that time. If that is the case, various treatment options are available.

Premenstrual syndrome is a set of physical and psychological symptoms that start about 7 to 10 days before a woman gets her monthly period (menstruation). Many women experience breast tenderness and abdominal pain. Other symptoms include headaches, back pain and joint or muscle ache. They may also have water retention (bloating) and sleeping problems or digestive problems... Read more about Premenstrual Syndrome

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Herbal treatment for premenstrual syndrome

Herbal medicines are sometimes used for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, the effectiveness of this type of therapy has not be rigorously evaluated in randomised controlled trials.

Progesterone for premenstrual syndrome

There is little good evidence for treating premenstrual syndrome with progesterone. Five per cent or more of women experience symptoms, severe enough to damage work and relationships, only in the days leading to their menstrual periods. Blood progesterone levels usually rise after ovulation and fall again before menstruation. It has been suggested that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) might have been caused by too little progesterone or falling levels.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common cause of physical, psychological and social problems in women of reproductive age. PMS is distinguished from 'normal' premenstrual symptoms by the degree of distress and disruption it causes. Symptoms occur during the period leading up to the menstrual period and are relieved by the onset of menstruation. Common symptoms include irritability, depression, anxiety and lethargy. A clinical diagnosis of PMS requires that the symptoms are confirmed by prospective recording (that is recorded as they occur) for at least two menstrual cycles and that they cause substantial distress or impairment to daily life. It is estimated that approximately one in five women of reproductive age are affected. PMS can severely disrupt a woman's daily life and some women seek medical treatment. Researchers in The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the evidence about the effectiveness and safety of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for treating PMS. They examined the research up to February 2013.

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Summaries for consumers

Herbal treatment for premenstrual syndrome

Herbal medicines are sometimes used for treating premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, the effectiveness of this type of therapy has not be rigorously evaluated in randomised controlled trials.

Premenstrual syndrome: Can dietary supplements help?

Many women regularly experience mood swings, pain and breast tenderness on the days before their period. Some evidence suggests that pyridoxine (vitamin B6) can help relieve these symptoms. Calcium and chaste tree extracts (vitex agnus castus) also seem to help.

Progesterone for premenstrual syndrome

There is little good evidence for treating premenstrual syndrome with progesterone. Five per cent or more of women experience symptoms, severe enough to damage work and relationships, only in the days leading to their menstrual periods. Blood progesterone levels usually rise after ovulation and fall again before menstruation. It has been suggested that premenstrual syndrome (PMS) might have been caused by too little progesterone or falling levels.

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Terms to know

Follicular Phase
Follicular phase begins with the onset of menstruation and ends with ovulation.
Hormones
A chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.
Luteal Phase
The period in the menstrual cycle that follows ovulation. The luteal phase begins with ovulation and ends with the onset of menstruation.
Premenstrual
Occurring in the time period during the menstrual cycle leading up to the beginning of menstruation. Or relating to the time period in a girl's life prior to her first experience of menstruation.

More about Premenstrual Syndrome

Photo of a young adult woman

Also called: Premenstrual tension, PMT

See Also: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Other terms to know: See all 4
Follicular Phase, Hormones, Luteal Phase

Related articles:
How the Menstrual Cycle Works

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