Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of PMS?

There are many possible PMS symptoms. Every adolescent experiences them differently. Common symptoms include:

Psychological symptoms

  • irritability
  • nervousness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • emotional hypersensitivity
  • crying spells
  • moodiness
  • sleep disturbances

Gastrointestinal symptoms

  • abdominal cramps
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • pelvic heaviness or pressure
  • backache

Fluid retention

  • periodic weight gain
  • breast fullness and pain

Skin problems

Other symptoms 

  • headache
  • diminished sex drive
  • increased appetite and food cravings

What causes PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome seems to be related to fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone in the body during the menstrual cycle. The symptoms don't necessarily signal an ovarian condition. Suggested causes of PMS include:

  • estrogen-progesterone imbalance
  • hyperprolactinemia (an excessive secretion of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates breast development)
  • excessive aldosterone, or ADH (hormone that helps to regulate the metabolism of sodium, chloride, and potassium)
  • carbohydrate metabolism changes
  • retention of sodium and water by the kidneys
  • low blood sugar
  • allergy to progesterone
  • psychogenic factors