Premenstrual Syndrome – Symptoms & Treatment

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome or most commonly known as PMS is defined as a mixture of physical, mental, emotional and mood-related problems that occur in women who are menstruating. It starts past ovulation and usually ends at the beginning of her menstruation. PMS is very common in women about 80 out of 100 women suffer from a number of premenstrual symptoms. However, only 20 out of 100 of women is considered suffering from clinically significant PMS which means that the symptoms they experience ranges from moderate to severe that it affects their activities. There is also a more serious form of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), which occurs in about two to six out of 100 women.

Symptoms and Signs

An immense range of manifestations have been linked to premenstrual syndrome. Women can get PMS of changing duration and seriousness from every menstrual cycle. The most common of these symptoms are:

Mood-related disturbances

  1. Annoyance
  2. Bad temper
  3. Nervousness
  4. Stress
  5. Despair
  6. Sobbing
  7. Easily upset
  8. Mood changes

Physical manifestations

  1. Exhaustion
  2. Swelling related to retention of fluid
  3. Increase in weight
  4. Breast soreness
  5. Bad skin (pimples)
  6. Sleep disorders (too much sleep or sleeplessness)
  7. Excessive eating (craving for food)


The treatments for PMS are quite difficult for doctors because every patient has different responses with treatments. Some of them can be treated with methods that do not have a solid scientific foundation and some of the methods that have a solid scientific foundation do not help all women. The general treatment includes having a healthy lifestyle and these are the following:

  1. Regular exercise
  2. Emotional support from family and friends
  3. Keep away from salt and salty foods before menstruation
  4. Limit drinking of coffee
  5. Limit the intake of refined sugar

The above-mentioned are recommended to aid in alleviating the symptoms in some women. Additionally, the intake of supplements like Vitamin E and Calcium supplements may also help the women. However, if lifestyle modification is not effective, the doctor can prescribed different types of medications to treat the various symptoms of PMS. These include the following drugs:


  1. Indicated to promote urine production in the kidneys
  2. Eliminates extra fluid from the body
  3. Spironolactone (Aldactone), the most commonly prescribed diuretic for PMS to treat bloating brought about by fluid retention
  4. Has not been successful in all patients


  1. Indicated for pain relief
  2. Usually given to treat pain from menstrual cramps, headaches and pelvic aches
  3. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications- most efficient of all the analgesics
  4. Ibuprofen, Naproxen and Mefenamic Acid are examples of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications

Oral Contraceptive Pills

  1. Indicated to smooth out ovarian hormone variations
  2. The newer oral contraceptive pills, with their enhanced hormonal formula, appear to be more compared to the old oral contraceptive pills

Ovarian suppressors

  1. Indicated to stop ovarian hormone production
  2. Cannot be used over long durations (at least not more than six months) because of the side-effects such as bone thinning
  3. Danazol (Danocrine) and gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs are examples


  1. Indicated to treat mood-related symptoms
  2. Increases the levels of serotonin and other chemicals in the brain
  3. Prozac and Paxil are examples of this kind of medication
  4. It is important to remember that the management for PMS to be effective it should be a combination of healthy diet, medications and regular exercise. This will maximize the effect of the treatment and will make the symptoms of PMS to go away. It is also recommended to consult your doctor to have a proper assessment and management specifically for you.


premenstrual syndrome images

2 thoughts on “Premenstrual Syndrome – Symptoms & Treatment

  • 15/05/2012 at 7:45 AM

    I usually feel premenstrual symptoms, but the problem is, my symptoms are similar to the pregnancy symptoms i had when i had my first baby like morning sickness, breast tenderness and dizziness. At the end of my cycle, i always fear I’m pregnant because i still don’t want o have another child because i still want to give the best for my first. Is there a way i can differentiate my premenstrual symptoms from pregnancy symptoms to reduce my anxiety every time? Thanks

    • 16/06/2012 at 10:15 PM

      Sarah, I think you are concerned with being pregnant. If you feel symptoms when you should be having your menses, it is a premenstrual symptom because if you are pregnant, you wont be feeling any symptoms unless the embryo has implanted and these usually take 20 days. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, feeling symptoms 14 days after your ovulation is usually a sign that you will be having your menstruation. I hope this helps


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *