Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name given to the physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms that can occur in the two weeks before a woman's monthly period. It's also known as premenstrual tension (PMT).

There are many different symptoms of PMS, but typical examples are:

These symptoms usually improve when your period starts and disappear a few days afterwards.

Nearly all women of childbearing age have some premenstrual symptoms, but women in theirlate 20sto theirearly 40s are most likely to experience PMS.

Around 1 in every 20 women have symptoms that are severe enough to stop them living their normal lives. This is often the result of a more intense type of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

However, it's thought to be linked to the changing levels of hormones in the body during a woman's menstrual cycle.

The fact that PMS improves during pregnancy and after the menopause , when hormone levels are stable, supports this theory.

Certain lifestyle factors are also thought to aggravate the symptoms of PMS, including:

  • lack of exercise and being overweight
  • stress
  • a poor diet

Read moreabout the causes of PMS .

Managing PMS symptoms

Certain lifestyle changes may helpyou managePMS if your symptoms aren't severe. These include:

  • a healthy diet
  • regular exercise to improve your health and fitness
  • learning techniquestohelp relievestress
  • regular sleep

Psychological therapy or hormone medications may be recommended in more severe cases.


Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 4 Jan 2017