Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS is the name given to a combination of symptoms many of us experience a week or so before a period arrive. No, it’s not all in your head. It’s a very real thing. It’s also commonly referred to as premenstrual tension (PMT).

Commonly discussed PMS symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • headaches
  • moodiness
  • stomach cramps
  • sore breasts
  • backache
  • breaking out
  • nausea
  • food cravings

What causes PMS?

Like many things relating to reproductive health, the exact cause isn’t fully understood. It is strongly suggested that PMS is likely due to the fluctuating hormone levels that take place during the menstrual cycle. When you consider the rise and fall of both oestrogen and progesterone, this makes total sense.

How come I get really bad PMS but my friend doesn’t?

Every body is different. Sometimes hormone levels change only slightly and sometimes they rise dramatically. If you think other things we go through such as pain threshold and allergic reactions, our bodies just have their own unique ways of reacting.

I really struggle with PMS and I don’t know what to do

If you really struggle with your PMS symptoms there’s a chance it could be something more serious, like premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Talk to your doctor.

Want to read more about PMS?

There’s a whole chapter in Red Moon Gang: An Inclusive Guide to Periods. Buy here.