This post was written by Sarah Cox, a third year medical student at UTHSCSA studying to be an OBGYN.
What is PMS?
PMS is short for Premenstrual Syndrome, and refers to mood symptoms and body manifestations that occur during the five days before the start of a period. Most menstruators experience PMS symptoms, and PMS is considered normal.
- Mood symptoms examples are mood swings, feelings of sadness, irritability, anger outbursts, social withdrawal, confusion, and food cravings.
- Body symptoms include bloating, fatigue, headache, hot flashes, and breast tenderness.
When do you experience PMS?
PMS symptoms usually start five days or less before a period (most commonly starting 1-2 days before), and go away within about four days of starting a period.
Are my symptoms normal?
The important thing to know about PMS is that these symptoms, while inconvenient, don’t keep you from doing your daily activities. Normal PMS symptoms are mild and don’t cause distress or limit you from doing your work and hobbies.
If you are noticing severe depression, hopelessness, crying, self-deprecating thoughts, severe anxiety, persistent irritability, and/or conflicts with family members and friends that are affecting your ability to do daily activities, you may have a form of severe PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). If you think this may be you, keep a journal with what you are noticing each month and go see your doctor.
Are your periods considered “normal”, but you are still struggling? Read more here.