Find a Doctor
Browse UPMC doctors and medical professionals to find the care that's right for you. Customize your search by specialty, zip code, last name, and more.
Visit the UPMC Find a Doctor website.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a series of changes that affect how you feel and think. It happens usually about 10 to 14 days before a woman begins her period each month.
What causes PMS is still a mystery. Some researchers think PMS may be related to the changes in your hormone levels before your period. Others think some hormones may react with chemicals in your brain, which may cause PMS symptoms.
There are ways to help you figure out if you have PMS. Start by keeping a daily journal of any changes to your body and emotions. Keep this record for 2 to 3 months. This will help you see if the same changes happen at the same time each month. You’ll also know when to expect them and how long they are going to last. This may help you deal with your PMS symptoms.
A complete check-up by your doctor, including a review of your health history, will help decide if you have PMS.
Though the strength of these symptoms may change, they should be the same from month to month. PMS symptoms go away within 24 hours after your period begins. Afterwards, you should feel normal for at least 1 or 2 weeks. As women get older and near menopause, they will notice these symptoms during the first half of their period.
There is no known cure for PMS. Vitamins, birth control pills, bright light therapy, and hormone medicines have been used, but there’s no proof that these treatments work for most women. There are some signs that small doses of certain anti-depressants may help some women. In general, a healthy life style with a good diet and regular activity can help relieve your PMS.
Regular exercise can help to relieve body tension. Exercise can also help PMS-related depression by producing pain-killing hormones (endorphins) in the brain. These hormones act as natural anti-depressants.