Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) (is a collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms related to a woman’s menstrual cycle. While most women (about 80 percent) of child-bearing age have some symptoms of PMS, the official definition limits the scope to having symptoms of “sufficient severity to interfere with some aspects of life”. Such symptoms are usually predictable and occur regularly during the two weeks prior to menses. Generally, symptoms may vanish both before or after the start of menstrual flow.


PMS is a collection of symptoms. More than 200 different symptoms have been identified, but the three most prominent symptoms are irritability, tension, and dysphoria (unhappiness). The exact symptoms and their intensity vary from woman to woman. Most women with premenstrual syndrome experience only a few of the problems. The following symptoms can also be attributed to PMS

  • Abdominal bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Stress or anxiety
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Worsening of existing skin disorders, and respiratory (eg, allergies, infection) or eye (bulbar disturbances, conjunctivitis) problems.

Risk Factors

  • High caffeine intake
  • Stress may precipitate condition
  • Increasing age
  • History of depression
  • Tobacco use
  • Family history
  • Allergies to nuts, trees, grass, and markers
  • Dietary factors (Low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, particularly magnesium, manganese, and vitamin E)

Family history is often a good predictor of the probability of premenstrual syndrome; studies have found that the occurrence of PMS is twice as high among identical twins compared with fraternal twins. Although the presence of premenstrual syndrome is high among women with affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder a causal relationship has not been established.