What effect do premenstrual symptoms have in real life?

Many menstruating women suffer one or more of the following symptoms in the run-up to their monthly period: lethargy, bloating, mood changes, and breakouts in places.

For some, they are only a nuisance, but for others, they may have a substantial influence on daily life.

What causes such symptoms, and are some people more vulnerable than others? We gathered some personal experiences as well as expert tips on how to deal with PMS.

Robert T. Frank, an American obstetrician, invented the term pre-menstrual tension (PMT) in 1931 to characterize symptoms experienced by women who menstruate at specific periods of their cycles.

Although he mentioned various medical symptoms, including cyclical asthma, heart irregularity, and water retention, his major focus was on “nervous strain,” which resulted in “improper or unwanted” actions.

He attributed the “hysteria” in the days preceding menstruation to an overabundance of estrogen.

Doctors and academics have since debunked the concept of hysteria as a catch-all phrase for nearly any behaviors and ailments that violated the standards and expectations of conventional patriarchal society.

As a result, the term PMT has likewise gone out of favor. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can include both mental and physical symptoms, is currently the term used by clinicians.

And it’s not because of an overabundance of estrogen – levels of both estrogen and progesterone drop substantially after ovulation, so they’re low in the days leading up to the period.

Even now, however, the precise etiology of PMS remains unknown.

“These physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms are considered to be caused by hormonal shifts and fluctuations involving estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle, particularly 1-2 weeks before a period begins.”

  • Dr. Sheryl Ross, OB/GYN and expert in women’s health at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA

What we do know is that many women suffer a variety of symptoms in the days preceding their period.

Most of them are typical parts of the cycle, but for some, they might disrupt daily functioning.

What is PMS ?

“[p]art of being a woman is experiencing the physical and mental chaos that occurs 1 to 2 weeks before your menstruation,” says Dr. Ross.

“Mood swings and mental turmoil are frequent PMS symptoms.” Extreme despair, bouts of rage, and overpowering anxiety are all symptoms.

“PMS mood swings include crying episodes, furious outbursts, and feelings of worthlessness,” she noted.

Psychological symptoms are extremely prevalent. Most people find them uncomfortable, but they have little effect on their daily lives, as Flora*, 20, told Medical News Today:

“I’ll be incredibly grumpy and short-tempered the day before my period, like clockwork.”

I frequently forget my period is due and find myself feeling sad for no apparent reason—then my period arrives the next day. I had my menstruation a week later.

Flora told MNT that not all women experience all of the symptoms: “Physically, I tend to break out the week before my period, and I feel bloated and puffy for a few days.”

“The week before my period, I have incredibly painful breasts, my skin gets oilier, and I get skin breakouts,” Immy*, 25, said.

However, for some people, the physical and psychological symptoms might be severe and incapacitating, indicating premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Dr. Ross recommends considering PMDD if “these emotional changes become bothersome with your job or your personal life.”

According to existing studies, around 80% of menstruating women suffer at least one premenstrual symptom each month.

According to a new study published in the Archives of Women’s Mental Health, “28.61% reported that premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life each cycle, and an additional 34.84% reported that premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life some cycles” among 238,114 survey respondents worldwide.

This study’s survey respondents used the Flo Health mobile app, which is a menstrual cycle monitoring tool. The responses ranged in age from 18 to 55.

Is PMS age-related?

Older survey respondents were more likely to report symptoms such as absentmindedness, poor libido, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal issues, weight gain, headaches, sweating or hot flashes, weariness, hair changes, rashes, and edoema.

However, while many of these symptoms are linked to perimenopause, they may not all be caused by PMS.

“PMS was somewhat more evident when I was younger — now perimenopause causes loads of symptoms all the time, but I’m on HRT [hormone replacement treatment], so maybe that helps?” Rachel, a 53-year-old company director, concurred. I used to have spots when I was younger but I suppose it ended after I had my children.”

Although the study’s major strength is its large sample size and multinational cohort, the authors note that their numbers may exaggerate the occurrence of symptoms because the data was self-reported. Simultaneously, app users are more likely to be aware of and report premenstrual symptoms.

List of PMS symptoms


  • Tension or anxiety.
  • Depressed mood.
  • Crying spells.
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger.
  • Appetite changes and food cravings.
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Poor concentration.

The most common symptoms of PMS include:

  • mood swings.
  • feeling upset, anxious, or irritable.
  • tiredness or trouble sleeping.
  • bloating or tummy pain.
  • breast tenderness.
  • headaches.
  • spotty skin.
  • greasy hair.

How does PMS affect your life?

Overview. PMS manifests itself in a number of ways, including mood swings, sore breasts, food cravings, exhaustion, irritability, and despair. It is believed that up to three out of every four menstruation women have had some sort of premenstrual syndrome.

What are the 3 symptoms of premenstrual syndrome?

fluctuations in mood feeling agitated, nervous, or irritated weariness or difficulty sleeping bloating, or stomach ache

How does PMDD affect daily life?

Insomnia or the desire to sleep more. Feeling out of control or overwhelmed Other typical physical symptoms include abdominal bloating, breast soreness, and headache.

When do premenstrual symptoms start?

Women frequently notice physical and emotional changes approximately 1-2 weeks before their menstruation begins. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms affect 90% of women at some time throughout their reproductive lives.

How do you stop PMS symptoms naturally?

Reduce bloating and the feeling of fullness by eating smaller, more frequent meals.
To prevent bloating and fluid retention, limit your intake of salt and salty meals.
Choose complex carbohydrate-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Choose calcium-rich meal
Caffeine and alcohol should be avoided.

Can periods cause mental breakdowns?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a major health disease that is related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In the week or two before your period, PMDD produces significant irritation, melancholy, or worry. Symptoms often disappear two to three days after your menstruation begins.

What hormone is responsible for PMS?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a major health disease that is related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In the week or two before your period, PMDD produces significant irritation, melancholy, or worry. Symptoms often disappear two to three days after your menstruation begins.

Why am I getting period symptoms but no period?

Stress can disrupt your hormone levels, leaving you with period symptoms but no period. Take some time to discover coping skills, rest, and reset your body and mind if you’re stressed. Other indicators of stress include fatigue, a change in libido, an upset stomach, and sleeplessness.

How many days before do you get PMS symptoms?

PMS, a catch-all name for a myriad of physical and psychological symptoms, is thought to be caused by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. The exact cause, however, remains a mystery. Symptoms generally strike five-to-10 days before the period and dissipate with its start or soon after.

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