Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition which causes
physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms in a regular
pattern during the second half of the menstrual cycle. The symptoms
disappear when the periods start and return again before the next
Most women find it useful to record their symptoms in a diary
over a couple of months to determine whether there is a pattern.
Common symptoms include bloating, headaches, breast discomfort, low
mood, mood swings, anxiety, aggression. It is important to
differentiate these cyclical symptoms from those that are always
present e.g. in some cases of depression.
Initial treatment for PMS is based on lifestyle changes such as
taking regular exercise, stopping smoking, restricting alcohol
intake, reducing known stress factors, trying to have regular
and sufficient sleep and having regular meals rich in complex
For some women, treatment which stops ovulation is required such
as the contraceptive pill. Other women benefit from cognitive
A small proportion of women ultimately need more specialised
care. If you feel your PMS is interfering with your ability to
function either at home or work, please discuss this with your GP
or local Sandyford clinic staff.