PMS Symptoms And Diagnosis
More than 150 PMS symptoms have been reported. Well, don’t
get freaked out! Only a few of these symptoms are frequently seen.
This article presents
the three groups of symptoms of PMS, together with tips on its definition and
PMS is a collection of symptoms related to the menstrual cycle which cause significant
distress and/or problems getting around with routine daily activities.
Initially, PMS was thought to be “all in your head”. Today, it is a somewhat defined medical condition that requires
diagnosis and treatment.
There is no single known identifiable cause of PMS.
Furthermore, the exact mechanism by which PMS occurs is also not fully known. A
lot of research is still going on.
Nobody likes this! Neither the woman with PMS nor the
doctor. I sometimes feel embarrassed when my patients take a deep breath and ask, “how come you
guys don’t know the cause yet?”
Common PMS Symptoms
As noted above, there are more than 150 reported symptoms of
PMS which can be grouped into three- emotional (mood), physical or
These include Anxiety, nervousness, mood swings,
irritability, depression, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty falling
asleep(insomnia) and hostility.
PMS depression is one of the most serious
PMS may make a woman exhibit some unusual behavior such as
Physical or body symptoms
Include headache, heart pounding, fatigue, dizziness, weight
You may be intrigued to learn that a similar though distinct condition occurs
Some Facts To Remember
Some key features to note about these symptoms include
- They are cyclical and recurrent. They occur in cycles like
the menstrual cycle itself
- Symptoms usually start during the second major phase of the menstrual cycle
called the luteal phase, before menstruation. It may occur about 2 to 14 days
before the start of menses
- They are severe enough to interfere with routine activity.
These symptoms decrease productivity at
work with more work absences and doctor’s visits.
- There is usually a symptom free period shortly after
- The types of symptoms are fairly the same from cycle to
cycle and fairly specific for each woman. They last about 6 days every month and are most often
severe in the four days before through
the first two to three days of menses
- The exact PMS symptoms vary from woman to woman. Don’t expect
two women to have the same set of symptoms.
There is no laboratory test or unique physical findings to
confirm the diagnosis of PMS. Diagnosis should not be made at home. Please see
a doctor if you suspect you might be having PMS to establish the diagnosis and/or
exclude other related causes.
To help with diagnosis, symptoms have to be charted for about
2 to 3 cycles.
Though there is no cure for PMS in terms of complete
eradication, there are some strategies which are effective to provide some
relief for most women. These generally include lifestyle measures and
If you want more
technical information on this, please consult the two selected
College of Obstetrics and Gynecology
practice bulletin: premenstrual syndrome. Int J Gynecol Obstet, 73 (2001), pp.
2. Yonkers KA,
O’Brien PM, Eriksson E. Premenstrual syndrome. Lancet 2008; 371:1200.
Return from PMS Symptoms To Menstruation Home