Premenstrual Syndrome: Learn Its Causes, Symptoms, And Management

Snehil Sharma

Snehil Sharma
Nov 2023

2 min read
Premenstrual Syndrome

Table of content

Premenstrual Syndrome, a cluster of physical and emotional symptoms that typically occur in the days leading up to menstruation, affects a significant portion of the female population. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, around 85% of menstruating women experience at least one symptom of PMS during their reproductive years.

These symptoms vary from person to person and can range from mood swings and irritability to physical discomfort, such as bloating and breast tenderness.

Did you know? Moreover the research from the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that severe premenstrual symptoms can impact the quality of life for up to 8-20% of women, sometimes leading to a condition known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Now, let’s dive deeper into every female’s journey and explore the complex landscape of PMS, shedding light on the experiences of countless women who confront this monthly challenge.

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Understanding The Science Behind Premenstrual Syndrome

The menstrual cycle encompasses four distinct phases, each associated with unique hormonal shifts and physical and emotional changes:

1.  Menstrual Phase (Days 1–5)

  • This phase marks the beginning of the cycle, characterized by the shedding of the uterine lining.
  • Estrogen and progesterone levels are low, leading to physical symptoms like cramps, fatigue, and emotional fluctuations.

2.  Follicular Phase (Days 6–13)

  • During this phase, the pituitary gland releases follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), stimulating the development of follicles in the ovaries.
  • Rising estrogen levels promote the thickening of the uterine lining and an increase in energy and mood.

3.  Ovulation (Days 14–16)

  • Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary, triggered by a surge in luteinizing hormone (LH).
  • Estrogen peaks just before ovulation, leading to heightened sexual desire and a sense of well-being.

4.  Luteal Phase (Days 16–28)

  • The luteal phase follows ovulation and is characterized by the corpus luteum, which secretes progesterone.
  • Progesterone levels rise, causing physical symptoms like breast tenderness and emotional changes, such as irritability or mood swings.

Note: These phases constitute the typical 28-day menstrual cycle, but cycle length can vary from person to person. Understanding which food for irregular periods during these phases and knowledge can help women anticipate and manage the physical and emotional fluctuations that accompany their cycles.

A Simple Guide To Recognizing Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms

This syndrome encompasses a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that typically occur in the days or weeks leading up to menstruation. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may affect different individuals differently.

So, here are some common symptoms along with explanations:

  • Mood Swings: This syndrome often brings about mood fluctuations, such as irritability, sadness, or heightened emotional sensitivity.These mood swings are primarily due to hormonal changes that impact neurotransmitters like serotonin, affecting emotional well-being.
  • Irritability: Increased irritability is a common PMS symptom, and it can make daily life more challenging. Furthermore, hormonal fluctuations can lead to heightened irritability, frustration, and impatience.
  • Fatigue: Many women experience increased fatigue and a sense of low energy during the premenstrual phase. Hormonal changes can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to tiredness.
  • Breast Tenderness: Breast discomfort and swelling are typical PMS symptoms. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly changes in estrogen and progesterone, can lead to fluid retention and breast tissue sensitivity.
  • Bloating: Abdominal bloating is a common physical symptom of PMS. It’s often linked to water retention and hormonal changes, resulting in a feeling of fullness and discomfort in the abdomen.
  •  Headaches: Some women experience PMS-related headaches, often attributed to hormonal fluctuations and changes in blood flow.
  •  Acne And Skin Changes: Hormonal shifts can lead to skin changes, such as acne flare-ups or skin dryness, affecting the complexion.
  •  Food Cravings: The syndrome can trigger cravings for specific foods, especially those high in carbohydrates or sugar. These cravings are believed to be linked to hormonal and neurotransmitter changes that affect mood and appetite.
  •  Digestive Issues: Some women may experience digestive problems like diarrhea or constipation as a result of hormonal fluctuations.
  •  Anxiety: Increased anxiety or nervousness is a PMS symptom for some individuals. Hormonal imbalances can influence the body’s stress response.

What Are The Causes OF PMDD?

According to International Association For Premenstrual Disorder, here we are sharing a few factors that are involved in its causes: 

1.  Hormonal Fluctuations: It is thought to be linked to the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. It is believed that these fluctuations in hormones particularly changes in estrogen and progesterone, play a role in triggering PMDD symptoms.

2.  Brain Chemistry: Alterations in neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) are suspected to be a contributing factor. Changes in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions, may play a significant role in the emotional symptoms of PMDD.

3.  Genetics: There is evidence to suggest a genetic predisposition to PMDD. If you have a family history of PMDD, you may be at a higher risk of developing it.

4.  Sensitivity To Hormonal Changes: Some individuals may be more sensitive to hormonal fluctuations than others, making them more prone to PMDD. It’s not entirely clear why this sensitivity exists, but it may involve genetic and environmental factors.

5.  Stress And Lifestyle Factors: Stress and lifestyle factors can exacerbate PMDD symptoms. High-stress levels, poor diet, lack of exercise, as well as inadequate sleep can make PMDD symptoms more severe.

Simple Steps To Ease Your Premenstrual Symptoms

Here are five steps to help relieve its symptoms:

Steps for relieving your premenstrual symptoms

1.  Healthy Diet And Hydration

  • Consume a well-balanced diet rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Limit or reduce salt and sugar intake to minimize bloating and food cravings.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water to help alleviate bloating and combat fatigue.

2.  Regular Exercise

  • Sometimes we observe weight gain during periods, so, engage in regular physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, to reduce stress, and weight gain issues, and improve overall well-being.
  • Exercise can help alleviate mood swings, fatigue, and physical discomfort associated with the issues.

3.  Stress Management

  •  Practice stress-reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or mindfulness to minimize the impact of emotional symptoms.
  • Subsequently, ensure adequate sleep to promote emotional stability and reduce irritability.

4.  Supplements And Medications

  • Consult a healthcare provider for advice on supplements or medications that may help alleviate specific PMS symptoms.
  • Nonprescription pain relievers or over-the-counter diuretics can be effective for managing physical discomfort.

5.  Keep A Symptom Diary

  • Maintain a journal to track your symptoms, including their timing and severity.
  • This can help you and your healthcare provider better understand your unique pattern of symptoms and develop a personalized treatment plan.
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8 Unique Ways To Manage Your Premenstrual Syndrome 

Managing it involves a range of strategies, from lifestyle adjustments to medical interventions tailored to alleviate its varied symptoms.

So, here are some key points on the treatment:

1.  Lifestyle Modifications

  •  Maintain a balanced diet with whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and salty foods.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Engage in regular exercise to reduce stress and alleviate symptoms.

2.  Stress Management: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress and emotional symptoms.

3.  Supplements And Vitamins: However, some individuals find relief from PMS symptoms with calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

4.  Prescription Medications: In severe cases, healthcare providers may prescribe medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or hormonal contraceptives, to alleviate PMS symptoms.

5.  Nonprescription Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, diuretics, or anti-inflammatory drugs may help manage physical symptoms like bloating and cramps. 

6.  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT can be beneficial for managing emotional symptoms, helping individuals develop coping strategies, and improving their overall mental well-being.

7.  Hormonal Treatments:  In some cases, hormonal treatments like GnRH agonists or oral contraceptives may be recommended to regulate hormonal fluctuations.

8.  Consult A Healthcare Provider If symptoms significantly impact your daily life, consult a healthcare provider for a personalized treatment plan. Keeping a symptom diary can help your healthcare provider better understand your specific needs and develop an effective treatment approach.

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A Word From Fitelo

It is a common condition affecting menstruating individuals. It manifests in the days or weeks before menstruation, with a range of physical and emotional symptoms. 

These may include mood swings, irritability, fatigue, bloating, breast tenderness, and food cravings. While the exact cause is not entirely clear, hormonal fluctuations play a significant role. 

Managing PMS often involves lifestyle changes, stress reduction, dietary adjustments, and, in severe cases, medications or hormonal treatments. Understanding and addressing the issue can improve the overall quality of life for those affected.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Premenstrual Syndrome?

It is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that many menstruating individuals experience in the days leading up to their menstrual period. Additionally these symptoms can include mood swings, irritability, bloating, and fatigue.

Can Stress Impact The Menstrual Cycle?

Many people ask our dietitians how does stress affects the period. So, Yes, stress can indeed affect the menstrual cycle. High stress levels may lead to irregular periods, missed periods, or more severe premenstrual symptoms.

What Are The Treatments Available For Menstrual Cycle In India?

In India, Premenstrual Syndrome treatments include lifestyle adjustments, stress management, supplements, prescription medications, nonprescription drugs, cognitive-behavioral therapy, hormonal treatments, and consulting healthcare providers for personalized plans.

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Contact Us

It is important to note that everyone’s dietary needs and choices are unique. It’s important to consult a registered dietitian before introducing something new to your meal plan based on specific macronutrient goals and nutritional needs. So, contact us today if you are looking for a customized diet plan. Also, we will discuss how we can help you achieve your weight loss goals. 


This blog post will help you make healthier and better food choices. So be aware and take care. The most important thing to consider is your health before starting any specific diet. Always seek advice from a doctor or dietitian if you have any concerns before starting.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy. Enjoy a long, happy life.

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