While there is some controversy among medical experts as to what the exact differences are between “premenstrual syndrome” or “PMS” and “premenstrual discomfort”, most agree that if the symptoms significantly interfere with work, daily activities, or relationships, then this meets the criteria for “premenstrual syndrome” or “PMS”.
The numerous symptoms that can occur with PMS can vary from one woman to another in severity as well as the type of symptoms. While some women may only experience one or two symptoms that are mild to moderate, others may experience several of the symptoms that are from moderate to severe.
While scientists and researchers have not been able to come up with a definitive cause of PMS, there are over one hundred and fifty symptoms that have been associated with this condition.
Common Physiological Symptoms that are Associated with PMS
One of the most common symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome is the bloating that occurs causing a gain in weight. This bloating typically occurs within the abdominal area and can be caused by water retention or the gas and constipation that are often associated with the symptoms of PMS.
Pain is also common among women who suffer from PMS and may include lower back pain, headaches, cramps, and aching muscles or joints. Fatigue is also another common complaint among women who are experiencing PMS as well as a general lack of energy. Swelling and tenderness of the breasts can also occur with PMS and is caused by the increase in the level of estrogen which causes the breast ducts to become enlarged.
Some women may also experience a leaking of fluid from either one or both breasts when they are pressed. This leaking is called “nipple discharge” that may be clear, white, cloudy, yellow, brown or green, and is typically normal; however, if nipple discharge occurs spontaneously without pressure or stimulation, this should be evaluated by a health care professional.
Many women also experience a change in bowel movements and may have either diarrhea or constipation. Changes in appetite along with craving certain foods – particularly foods that are salty or sweet – are also another common symptom that many women experience with PMS. Many women also have a problem with acne that sometimes can occur due to the fluctuation in hormone levels.
Common Psychological Symptoms Associated with PMS
Many women experience behavioral changes or mood swings with premenstrual syndrome that can be from mild to moderate. The most common behavioral changes that can occur are the symptoms of irritability or short temperedness, aggression, and the withdrawal from friends and family. Some women may also have emotional changes that cause them to become depressed, have anxiety, mood swings, anger, and a decrease in their level of concentration or alertness.
If these symptoms become severe, this could be an indication of “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” or “PMDD” which is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome that should be evaluated by a medical professional as this condition may require prescription medications in order to control the symptoms.