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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome

Alternate Names : PMS

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Premenstrual syndrome, also called PMS, is a term used to describe a group of physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms occur in the 2 weeks before a menstruating woman has her period.

What is going on in the body?

PMS occurs during the last 2 weeks of a woman's menstrual cycle. This phase starts with the release of an egg from the ovary. It ends when the woman starts her period. The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but researchers have proposed the following causes:

  • changes in kidney hormone levels, which cause water retention and weight gain
  • deficiencies of minerals, such as calcium
  • deficiencies of vitamins A, B6, and E
  • dietary changes, such as high levels of sodium and simple sugars
  • higher levels of estrogen, a female hormone
  • higher levels of prostaglandins, which produce inflammation
  • lower levels of endorphins, which are a part of the nervous system that produce what is called a high feeling
  • lower levels of progesterone, a female hormone
  • lower levels of serotonin, a hormone that influences mood
  • What are the causes and risks of the condition?

    PMS is reported in 85% of women who menstruate. However, only 5% to 10% of menstruating women are severely impaired by PMS. No one knows what makes PMS so severe in some women and mild in others.


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    Premenstrual Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eva Martin, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 06/26/01

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