PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome)

Premenstrual syndrome, also known as PMS, is defined as a collection of emotional and physical symptoms associated with the female menstrual cycle. Although up to 85% of women have experienced premenstrual syndrome during their normal ovulation cycle, the medical definition of premenstrual syndrome focuses on the physical and emotional symptoms which are occurring during the phase of the menstrual cycle itself. These symptoms are considered to be severe enough to possibly interrupt the general aspects of everyday life. It is believed that emotional symptoms need to be present on a consistent basis in order to be diagnosed as PMS. However, physical and emotional symptoms will vary between each woman. It is also estimated that around 2% to 10% of women have had significant enough premenstrual syndrome symptoms that are directly separate from the normal general discomfort experienced by most healthy women. It is believed that there are over 200 symptoms that have been associated with premenstrual syndrome. The most common symptoms are tension, unhappiness, and irritability. Emotional and physical symptoms can also include anxiety, stress, insomnia, fatigue, headache, changes in libido, and mood swings. Although there may be a presence of physical symptoms available, unless these are accompanied by emotional symptoms, they cannot be diagnosed as being in relation to premenstrual syndrome. More directly, there are certain types of physical symptoms that are highly attributed to PMS, including constipation, cramps, swelling of the breasts or tenderness, muscle pain, or bloating. However, none of these can be attributed purely to premenstrual syndrome unless the woman is also experiencing emotional symptoms in combination. Every woman who has PMS has her own specific pattern of symptoms and level of severity. Women who have PMS do not deal with different symptoms every time they change their cycle; that is to say, it is not likely that a woman will feel depressed during one cycle of her period and then completely angry in the upcoming cycle. Instead, these symptoms tend to combine themselves and repeat on a regular basis. Some women express that they do not deal with severe premenstrual syndrome symptoms at all, while others deal with them to the point that the severity may cause them to be unable to function comfortably as they would usually. According to most definitions of PMS, women must experience symptoms at least ten days before the arrival of their menstrual cycle. The symptoms should not be present for a week between the arrival of the menstruation and the ovulation period, however.

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