Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms that occur one to two weeks before a woman’s period and are severe enough to interfere with her daily routine.

Overview and Symptoms

Most women with PMS experience just a few symptoms, including:

Physical

  • bloated abdomen
  • Cramps
  • tender breasts
  • hunger
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain
  • swollen hands and feet
  • pimples
  • weight gain
  • constipation or diarrhea

Emotional

  • tension or anxiety
  • depression
  • crying
  • mood swings
  • trouble sleeping
  • desire for solitude
  • feelings of helplessness
  • angry outbursts

Behavioral

  • forgetfulness
  • loss of mental focus
  • fatigue

Treatment

For some women, lifestyle changes may alleviate the symptoms of PMS. For more severe cases, doctors may prescribe one or more medications including:

  • antidepressants
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • diuretics
  • hormonal contraceptives

Learn More

The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at BIDMC provides outstanding care for all women throughout their lives, in a friendly, comfortable and safe environment.

Obstetrics and Gynecology