Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition that usually displays symptoms one to two weeks before a woman’s monthly period (menstruation). Common symptoms of PMS may include mood swings, irritability, difficulty sleeping, headache, bloating, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. PMS is thought to be caused by changes in hormones of the body due to the menstruation cycle. This condition is manageable and predictable.
Menstrual cycles typically last between 21-35 days. Therefore, women typically find it useful to track the dates of their monthly periods in order to predict when they may begin experiencing symptoms of PMS again. Treatment options for PMS include exercise, healthy eating, the use of warm compresses on the painful areas, and the temporary use of over the counter pain medications. Some forms of prescription birth control (contraceptives) are also known to provide relief from PMS symptoms.
If the symptoms of PMS become more severe, you may be facing a more serious condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). The symptoms of PMDD may include depression or thoughts of suicide, panic attacks, trouble thinking, and fatigue. If you believe you or your family member may be experiencing this more serious condition, it is important that you speak to a doctor about the most current treatment options.