Glossary of Medical Terms

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the troubling physical and emotional symptoms that occur between ovulation and the menstrual period that interfere with relationships or responsibilities. Common physical symptoms of PMS are water retention, breast tenderness, and weight gain, while common emotional and behavioral symptoms include depression, irritability, and mood swings.

PMS has a wide variety of physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms that vary greatly from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. Symptoms may range from mild to severe.

While there is no cure for PMS, many women can improve their symptoms by getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, limiting their alcohol and caffeine intake, and reducing stress. Nonprescription pain relievers can help reduce some symptoms. Prescription medicines may be necessary for women who have severe PMS that significantly interferes with their lives on a regular basis. 

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