PMS Symptoms

July 18, 2010

Three in every four women during their reproductive years will experience at least some symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) each month, in the three days or so before their periods are due. There are myriad symptoms and signs that are linked to PMS, though most women will experience just a few of these. The most common symptoms include moodiness, depression, breast tenderness, food cravings, and mood swings.

Diagnosing PMS

Because these symptoms are so varied, it can be difficult for a physician to hone in on the cause or confirm the diagnosis of PMS. Timing is everything. If you have symptoms at the same time each month without fail and this happens just before your menstrual period is due, you may well be diagnosed with PMS.

There's also an age factor with PMS. Women tend to experience PMS from their late 20's until their early 40's. For some women, the symptoms of PMS fall into a regular pattern, but for others some months come with severe symptoms while other months usher in milder signs of PMS.

Meantime, the emotional symptoms brought on by PMS can be very difficult not only for the PMS sufferer but for her family and friends. At least PMS doesn't last very long. Still, PMS rolls around each month and it's very hard to cope with the emotions experienced during this time. You may feel out of control during a bad bout of PMS. Not that the physical symptoms are any easier. They can be so severe that you find you can't work well or keep up with your usual physical activities.

Here are the most common emotional symptoms of PMS:

*Fatigue

*Irritability

*Mood swings

*Sadness

*Anxiety

*Rage

*Crying

*Difficulty concentrating

*Feeling withdrawn

*Food cravings and binge eating

Physical symptoms of PMS include:

*Tender breasts

*Insomnia

*Acne breakouts

*Muscle and joint pain

*Changes in bowel habits

*Headaches or migraines

*Water retention, abdominal bloating, and weight gain

It's Magic!

This very long list of symptoms may seem daunting although most women with PMS will have only a few of these symptoms. The symptoms should resolve as soon as your menstrual period begins. It's kind of magical the way the symptoms just seem to dissolve as the bleeding begins.

A small subsection of women have very severe symptoms and have therefore earned their very own psychiatric designation: premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This condition is characterized by bouts of rage, extreme agitation or tension, depression, inability to concentrate, anxiety, and low self-esteem. There is often a preexisting mental health issue with PMDD.

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