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Premenstrual Syndrome


Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a group of symptoms that start one to two weeks before your period. Most women have at least some symptoms of PMS, and the symptoms go away after their periods start. For some women, the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with their lives. They have a type of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD.

Common PMS symptoms include

  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Acne
  • Bloating and weight gain
  • Pain – headache or joint pain
  • Food cravings
  • Irritability, mood swings, crying spells, depression

No one knows what causes PMS, but hormonal changes trigger the symptoms. No single PMS treatment works for everyone. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin or naproxen may help ease cramps, headaches, backaches and breast tenderness. Exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding salt, caffeine, and alcohol can also help.

Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health

Treatments and Therapies

  • Black Cohosh National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Chasteberry National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Evening Primrose Oil National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health


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  • Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
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