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Premenstrual Syndrome: Triggers, Symptoms, and Treatment

As your menstrual cycle approaches, it will seem as if suddenly you’ve morphed into a different person. Experiencing period-related symptoms prior to your cycle can really weigh down on your entire mood. Feelings of fatigue, joint pain, and premenstrual cramps are the reason why most women miss work and stay home. 

No one really talks about how to prevent these symptoms during this awkward time frame. Premenstrual syndrome is more than mood swings, the reality for women is that these symptoms can have the ability to be immobilizing.

What is Premenstrual Syndrome? Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is in reference to several physical and emotional symptoms that occur one to two weeks prior to a woman’s actual cycle. According to the Office of Women’s Health, over 90 percent of women say that they experience PMS symptoms.

The cause of PMS is unknown, however, it’s triggers can be associated with hormonal changes in the body right before your cycle occurs. 


PMS symptoms can range from being psychosocial-based to physical affecting the way women feel each day. Additionally, women can suffer from multiple symptoms at a time throwing off their mental and emotional state. 

Psychological symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can include:

  • Irritability and mood swings 

  • Crying spells

  • Appetite changes and food cravings 

  • Insomnia

  • Brain Fog

  • Decrease in libido

Physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome can include:

  • Hormonal acne flare-ups

  • Abdominal bloating

  • Fatigue

  • Joint pain 

  • Diarrhea

  • Lower back pain 

  • Breast tenderness

Having six or more of these symptoms is not only deemed more severe, it’s a sign of premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. 


PMS symptoms can be alleviated at home by getting regular exercise, preferably cardio. This type of exercise helps with menstrual cramping leading up to and during your cycle. Incorporating a healthier eating style can contribute to lessening bloating and alleviating feelings of emotional distress. 

Medications that combat physical PMS symptoms are ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin for rapid pain relief. Prescription medication such as birth control and antidepressants may be used for both types of symptoms if over-the-counter medicine does not suffice. 

Although experiencing PMS each month can be difficult, you have multiple options to lessen these symptoms and gain some normalcy before and during your cycle.

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