Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Image

Many women are too familiar with the discomfort that accompanies their menstrual cycle before bleeding begins. Indicators of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) range from uncomfortable bloating to severe cramping and debilitating migraine headaches.

If you’re affected by premenstrual syndrome, accepting these effects as a normal part of your monthly cycle may help to reduce the anxiety you feel about PMS. The next step is to go about taking care of your body in a way that decreases discomfort, if possible.

Long misunderstood, PMS is now formally defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a symptom or collection of symptoms that occurs regularly in relation to the menstrual cycle, with the onset of symptoms five to eleven days before the onset of menses and resolution of symptoms with menses or shortly thereafter.”

Do all Women get PMS?

Approximately 75 percent of women are affected by PMS. For about half of these women, the condition is severe enough to interfere with daily tasks, and for about ten percent of women, it’s severe enough to be disabling. Women who seem to be most affected include those between their late 20s and early 40s, those with at least one child, and/or a family history or personal history of depression or an affective mood disorder.

PMS should not be confused with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, which is a psychiatric term for a major mood disturbance that occurs in 3 to 8 percent of women.

Is it important to recognize your PMS symptoms and adjust your diet, lifestyle and birth control method in order to adjust to your body’s needs during this period. Some doctors recommend keeping a journal of the different phases of your cycle in order to track the timing of your symptoms.

Each woman’s menstrual cycle is different, and will require its own combination of prevention and treatment for PMS. Helpful treatments may range from proper diet and exercise to hormone therapy and antidepressants.


Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.) Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Retrieved September 18th, 2009, from the Mayo Clinic Web site:

Medline Plus Staff. (n.d). Premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved September 18th, 2009, from the Medline Plus Web site:

Women’s Health Staff. (n.d.) Premenstrual syndrome. Retrieved September 18th, 2009, from the Women’s Health Web site: