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What Is Premenstrual Syndrome?

What Is Premenstrual Syndrome?

Premenstrual Syndrome --advisory by Grace Wang, Guardian Pharmacist

What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
PMS consists of a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. Often, symptoms appear to be consistent and predictable but the severity of the symptoms varies between individuals. The exact cause of PMS is unknown. However, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone seem to be contributing factors.

What are the common symptoms of PMS?
PMS symptoms can be divided into:

  • Emotional symptoms: Depression, anxiety, poor concentration, mood swings.
  • Physical symptoms: Breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, weight gain related to water retention, acne flare-ups, headaches and joint pains.


How can PMS be managed?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for PMS. However, certain lifestyle changes may help to better manage its symptoms. Some medication may also be used to reduce the severity of the symptoms.

  • Healthy diet: Eat smaller meals more frequently to prevent bloating. Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can affect your mood and salty food to reduce fluid retention.
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help to alleviate depression symptoms, tiredness, and reduce stress levels.
  • Medication: Painkillers available over-the-counter (e.g. paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) obtained from the pharmacist (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen) can be taken to relieve symptoms such as headaches, abdominal cramps and breast tenderness. Anti-depressants may be prescribed by a doctor to manage psychological symptoms like aggression and depression.

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