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Premenstrual Syndrome - Overview

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional symptoms that occur one or two weeks before a woman's period. Different women experience different symptoms, and they get better once the bleeding begins. The most common symptoms include mood swings, depression, food cravings, tender breasts, bloating, feeling tired, irritability and fatigue. These are normal premenstrual symptoms. But when they disturb a woman’s daily life, they are called PMS. PMS can affect a woman’s body, mood and even change her behaviour significantly, a few days before her menstrual period. Some women develop PMS in their teens or 20s, some may get it in their 30s. The symptoms may be worse in the late 30s or 40s, when the woman is nearing menopause.

PMS is due to hormonal changes that take place during the menstrual cycle. The intensity and group of symptoms experienced by women are different from person to person. Sometimes, PMS is observed to be running in families. Deficiency of certain vitamins like vitamin B6, calcium or magnesium in food can increase a woman’s PMS. High stress levels coupled with the lack of physical activity can also increase PMS.


  • Out of every four menstruating women, three have experienced PMS.
  • 2.6% to 31% menstruating women are found to be suffering from PMS.
  • Approximately 20% women in their reproductive age have moderate to severe PMS.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 199 million women have PMS.
  • Woman in cities with sedentary lifestyles are more likely to suffer from PMS.

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