What is PMS?

For many people, periods are not all fun and games. We get it. But what happens when the weeks leading up to your period have you feeling down? PMS has entered the chat.

What is PMS? 

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is the name given to a series of symptoms that occur before the start of each period. Symptoms of PMS can be physical, emotional, or both. 

Some physical symptoms include:

  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Cramping
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness

Emotional symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Low mood or mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Food cravings or appetite changes
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating

Whew, that’s a lot! 

So what causes PMS? 

PMS is believed to be caused by changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur after ovulation during the luteal phase, when estrogen levels lower and progesterone levels start to rise.

PMS may also be caused by changes in neurotransmitters, and can be worsened by other conditions such as depression or anxiety, or by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and exercise. 

What should I do if I have PMS symptoms?

Almost 48% of people who menstruate have PMS, with up to 90% of people experiencing at least one symptom. Nearly 20% of people with PMS have reported that their symptoms interfere with their routines. That’s a big deal. 

Some remedies for PMS symptoms include: 

  • Drinking plenty of water and herbal teas
  • Eating a balanced, healthy diet
  • Getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep
  • Doing activities that help you rest and relax
  • Exercising
  • Lowering salt, caffeine, and alcohol intake

PMS is more than just craving chocolate or crying at TV commercials (but those could be symptoms!). If you have symptoms of PMS that occur frequently and affect your life, talk to you doctor. Treatment options for PMS may include birth control, supplements, or other medications. PMS does not have to prevent you from living your best life!


  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/premenstrual-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20376780#:~:text=Premenstrual%20syndrome%20(PMS)%20has%20a,some%20form%20of%20premenstrual%20syndrome.
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/premenstrual-syndrome#causes
  3. https://www.webmd.com/women/pms/what-is-pms