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Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

What Is Premenstrual Syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is a group of symptoms that develop in the weeks before a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle begins. Once menstruation begins, the symptoms usually subside.

Premenstrual syndrome is very common among menstruating women, though its causes are not readily understood. Some contributing factors to the severity of the symptoms are:

  • Chemical changes in the brain
  • Depression
  • Normal hormonal changes during the cycle


Most women experience at least some symptoms of PMS including:

  • Acne — Hormonal changes can cause skin problems, particularly acne flare-ups.
  • Breast tenderness — Breasts may feel tender, or even painful.
  • Fatigue and bloating — Tiredness, weight gain and bloating may occur during PMS.
  • Food cravings — Some women report increased cravings for sweet or salty foods, or have changes in appetite when they have premenstrual syndrome.
  • Mood swings — Irritability, mood swings, crying spells and even depression may be triggered during PMS.

Treatment Options

There are many ways for women to find relief for the symptoms of PMS, including:

  • Dietary changes — A change to diet can sometimes help alleviate symptoms of PMS. Eating whole grains, keeping hydrated and cutting back on foods high in salt, fat, sugar and caffeine can be beneficial.
  • Exercise — For some women, a consistent exercise program with regular aerobic exercise increases heart rate and lung function to help lessen symptoms. Exercise may also help relieve cramping that may develop before menstruation begins.
  • Medication — Some cases of PMS may be treated by doctors with the use of hormonal contraceptives, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or antidepressants.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of PMS, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat PMS.