Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

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Premenstrual syndrome is a group of symptoms women sometimes experience before their periods. Read more to learn about symptoms, treatment and where else to go for help with premenstrual syndrome.
What is PMS?

PMS is the name for the symptoms you may experience before your period. It may cause a serious impact on the relationships you have with the people around you.

Many women may notice changes to their bodies or mood before their periods begin, but these changes must seriously impact your life for you to be diagnosed with PMS.

The symptoms must also occur during the last phase of your menstrual cycle, known as the luteal phase. This usually starts around day 15 of your cycle.1,2

What are the symptoms of PMS?

There are a variety of symptoms associated with PMS.

You may have symptoms that affect your mood and emotions like:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability.1
  • But you may also have physical symptoms like:

  • Bloating
  • Tender breasts.1
  • How can I manage my PMS symptoms?

    Depending on how severe your symptoms are, your GP may advise that you take different approaches to manage them.

    Making changes to your lifestyle could help improve PMS symptoms. Taking up exercise, making healthy food choices or finding ways of improving your sleep or stress levels, could make a difference to the way you feel.1

    If lifestyle changes aren’t helping to improve your symptoms, medical treatments may work. The oral contraceptive pill, or medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are some of the options your GP may suggest if you have severe PMS symptoms.1, 2

    It’s important to talk to your GP before trying a new method to improve your PMS.

    What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

    PMDD is the name of a condition that happens when you have 5 or more PMS symptoms. To be diagnosed, at least 1 of the 5 symptoms you have must be mood related.3, 4

    It isn’t clear what the cause of PMDD is. Though some people with PMDD have hormonal imbalances, this is not the cause of the condition.3, 4

    It has been suggested that PMDD is triggered by a negative response to the changes in female reproductive hormone levels that happen during the menstrual cycle.3, 4

    If you think that you have PMDD your GP can help you get a diagnosis.

    If you are experiencing low mood or suicidal thoughts contact 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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    Where can I get further support and information?


    Information and support for people affected by anxiety or depression, including an information helpline and online support community.

    NHS Website.

    Information about premenstrual syndrome, including symptoms, living with the condition and treatments to manage it.

    1. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) - NHS. Accessed March 20, 2023.
    2. Premenstrual syndrome | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE. Accessed March 18, 2023.
    3. What is PMDD? - Mind. Accessed March 18, 2023.
    4. Hormones & PMDD | IAPMD. Accessed March 18, 2023.

    Reviewed by: Mital Thakrar

    Review date: March 2023

    Next review: March 2026