PMS: All you need to know

Women and girls experience different symptoms before their periods. These symptoms are collectively known as Premenstrual Syndrome mostly known as PMS. What is PMS, what are its symptoms, what are its causes, and what are the treatments for this syndrome? Read this article to find out.

dr karen.webp
Karine Chahda
Published on:Jun 30th 2022 |Updated on:Apr 10th 2024
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When does PMS happen?

This syndrome occurs a week before the start of the period. In some cases, it starts with the ovulation period, thus it lasts about two weeks. It usually ends three to four days after the period. It is noteworthy that three out of four women and girls experience this syndrome, with a difference in the severity of symptoms, which makes it common and normal.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome

Emotional symptoms

  • Mood swings.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Crying episodes.
  • Irritability.
  • Insomnia.
  • difficulty concentrating.
  • Low sex drive.

Physical symptoms

  • Body pains.
  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Breast pain.
  • Being more prone to pimples.
  • Bloating.
  • Weight gain due to water retention.
  • Constipation or Diarrhea.

I must highlight that if any more severe symptoms occur, such as migraines and vomiting, medical advice must be sought.

Causes of PMS

  • The above symptoms happen because of changes in hormone levels. Progesterone and Estrogen both increase in levels before the period, then they start declining when the period is about to happen.
  • The hormonal changes affect the level of Serotonin, which is a hormone produced in the brain and is a neurotransmitter, this hormone is responsible for the emotional symptoms of this syndrome.
  • Many women suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety which increases the severity of the PMS symptoms.

Treatment of PMS

To decrease the severity of the premenstrual syndrome, you can:

  •  Avoid smoking.
  • Don't consume sugary foods like chocolate, which women tend to consume during this period, and that improves the mood only temporarily. It is one of the triggers of PMS symptoms.
  • Avoid processed foods that are rich in salt and fats.
  • Consume foods rich in protein.
  • Exercise.
  • Get enough rest.
  • Practice Yoga.
  • Taking painkillers for headaches and camping.
  • Get supplements like Primrose oil.
  • Take hormonal treatments prescribed by the doctor like contraceptive pills.


I want to highlight that this syndrome is normal and should not be considered a stigma. We need to increase awareness of women’s mental and physical health. Therefore, we should handle these symptoms with ease, accept them and understand women and girls who go through them. I encourage all women and girls to talk about how they feel during this period to decrease frustration and get the support they need.

Check out Menopause: the end? or the beginning?

dr karen.webp
Karine ChahdaMidwife Nurse

A new mom and Licenced Midwife, she holds a degree from the Lebanese University. Karine worked in the NICU unit at St. George University Hospital in Beirut. Then, she worked as a Midwife in the same hospital for five years. She joined the maternity ward at Danat Al Emarat Hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2021. Karine has a great passion for her role as a Midwife; she believes it is a blessing from God to witness the miracle of life born from another life. She thinks nothing is more beautiful than witnessing this miracle daily through her work. Karine believes that each of us has a specific role in life. She sees her role not as a job but as a vocation where she can assist others, and she is grateful for this blessing.

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