What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?

Breast tightness, tummy tugging, and mood swings are a burden for many women in the days before their period. These complaints are summarized under the term premenstrual syndrome. You can find more information below.

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome , also known as premenstrual syndrome , or PMS for short , is a collective term for many different complaints. What they all have in common is that they start two weeks to a few days before menstruation and stop when bleeding begins. Physical symptoms of PMS include breast tenderness, abdominal tension, and acne. In the days before the menstrual period, emotionally depressed moods, irritability, increased anxiety and fatigue appear.

About eight out of every ten women have premenstrual complaints, namely premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual syndrome. Many women feel that their quality of life is restricted. Some women have symptoms so severe that they have to seek medical treatment.

If there are severe symptoms, the condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder is mentioned and the symptoms disappear again with menopause.

What causes premenstrual syndrome?

It is not clear what exactly causes the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Since only women with menstrual periods suffer from PMS, female hormones play a very important role in this. If menstruation is prevented in any way (such as pregnancy), premenstrual complaints do not occur.

However, it is still not clear why one woman is affected by PMS and another with exactly the same hormone composition feels fine. Medical professionals assume that premenstrual syndrome must have several causes.

However, daily behavior, other illnesses, and psychological stress also seem to have an impact on the appearance and severity of symptoms.

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Possible causes at a glance

Possible causes for premenstrual syndrome:

  • Prolactin hormone: High prolactin levels are believed to play a role in PMS. Prolactin is the female hormone responsible for breast growth and milk production during lactation.
  • Estrogen/progesterone hormone: There seem to be women who are particularly sensitive to the fact that in the second half of the cycle, the level of the sex hormone estrogen drops and the progesterone ratio rises.
  • Serotonin: Another approach is that changes in sex hormones during women’s menstrual cycles affect the production and activity of other hormones and messenger substances, particularly serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Serotonin is thought to be responsible for good mood and calmness and reduces feelings of fear and aggression. In addition, serotonin plays an important role in controlling the sleep/wake cycle.
  • Thyroid problems: Thyroid dysfunction is thought to have an effect on premenstrual syndrome.

Who is at risk?

Many factors seem to influence how severely women experience their PMS symptoms. Women who are particularly at risk of being bothered by premenstrual complaints include:

  • Those with stress in their life
  • Those who consume excessive beverages such as caffeine, sugar and alcohol
  • Those who sleep very little
  • Those who move very little
  • Smokers
  • Those with a family history of mental illness

What are the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome?

Do you feel inexplicable sadness in the days leading up to your period? Do your breasts get tighter or do you have an increased appetite during this time?

These complaints are among more than 150 symptoms experienced by women in the premenstrual period. Which PMS complaints women suffer from varies from person to person. While there are women who have one or two symptoms, there are also women who report ten complaints. The type of symptoms may be the same each time, or different symptoms may appear each time. Some women may have symptoms specific to PMS during one period but not another period.

The severity and appearance of the symptoms may also change in each period. Sometimes the symptoms can be so severe that affected women feel they cannot cope with daily life. Pain levels are very high and place a great strain on their ability to work and interpersonal relationships.

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PMS symptoms can be divided into physical and psychological-emotional complaints.

Physical PMS symptoms

  • Chest pain, tightness and tenderness due to fluid retention and increased volume
  • Water retention in the face, hands, feet and legs, increase in body weight
  • Abdominal tension and cramps, abdominal pain and backache
  • skin changes such as acne
  • Headache accompanied by sensitivity to light, sounds and smells, migraine
  • Nausea and nausea, sometimes diarrhea, bloating
  • Circulatory problems, dizziness, weakness, fainting
  • Loss of appetite and feelings of fullness, as well as cravings for certain foods

Psychological and emotional PMS symptoms

  • Irritability, tantrums, aggression
  • Anxiety, boredom
  • Sadness, depressed mood
  • Weakness, apathy, lethargy
  • decreased self-esteem
  • Lack of concentration and concentration disorders
  • Feeling overwhelmed and out of control
  • fatigue, exhaustion
  • Sleep disorders ( insonmia )

How is premenstrual syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosis is not easy as symptoms, type and severity of complaints are different for each affected woman and there may be other causes of complaints. Doctors will ask about the symptoms and exactly when it appeared, in order to definitively determine that it is a PMS and not another disease. A typical feature of all PMS symptoms is their temporal dependence on the menstrual cycle.

How is premenstrual syndrome treated?

For most women, lifestyle changes can help relieve PMS symptoms. But depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe one or more medications for premenstrual syndrome. The success of medications in relieving symptoms varies from person to person.


Commonly prescribed medications for premenstrual syndrome include:

  • Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, including fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, and others, have been successful in reducing mood symptoms. These are first-line treatments for severe PMS. These drugs are usually taken daily. However, for some women with PMS, antidepressant use may be limited to the two weeks before menstruation begins.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium taken at or before your period can relieve cramps and chest discomfort.
  • Diuretics: When exercising and limiting salt intake aren’t enough to reduce the weight gain, bloating, and bloating triggered by PMS, water pills (diuretics) can help your body remove excess fluid from your kidneys. For example, spironolactone is a diuretic that can help relieve some of the symptoms of PMS.
  • Hormonal contraceptives: These prescription drugs stop ovulation, which can work well in relieving PMS symptoms.
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Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.

What is good for premenstrual syndrome?

To alleviate the effects of premenstrual syndrome, you can eat healthy, exercise and make changes in your approach to daily life. You can try the following tips for this:

change your diet

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals to reduce bloating and feelings of fullness.
  • Limit salt and salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid retention.
  • Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Choose foods rich in calcium. If you can’t tolerate dairy products or aren’t getting enough calcium in your diet, a daily calcium supplement can help.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Incorporate exercise into your regular routine

Engage in brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or other aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Regular daily exercise can help improve your overall health and relieve certain symptoms, such as fatigue and depressed mood.

reduce stress

  • sleep a lot.
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep breathing exercises to help reduce headaches, anxiety, or difficulty sleeping.
  • Try yoga or a massage to relax and reduce stress.

record your symptoms for several months

Keep a log to identify the triggers and timing of your symptoms. This will allow you to develop strategies that can help reduce them.

Remember, your doctor will decide which medicine to take and how.

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