Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the catch-all term given to a range of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms that appear in the lead up to a women’s period. The symptoms usually last for a few days leading up to the period and a few afterwards. Though most women are able to cope with the symptoms, a minority can find the symptoms so severe that their daily lives are disrupted. Common symptoms include irritability, mood swings, tenderness around the breasts, cravings and bloating, but there are dozens of other symptoms that can occur. The causes of PMS are not fully understood, but hormonal and chemical changes are certainly one possibility, as is stress and diet. Amendments to these areas are frequently the first stage used by GPs when looking for treatment, alongside diuretics, anti-inflammatory pills and oral contraceptives.
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