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Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (sometimes referred to as PMT or Premenstrual Tension) is a collection of physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms related to a woman's menstrual cycle. While most women of child-bearing age (about 80 percent) have some symptoms of PMS,[1] the official definition limits the scope to having symptoms of "sufficient severity to interfere with some aspects of life".[2] 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.

For some women with PMS, the symptoms are so severe that they are considered disabling. This form of PMS has its own psychiatric designation: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Symptoms

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
     

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