Premenstrual tension

Summary of Premenstrual Stress (PMS)

Premenstrual Tension (PMS) or Premenstrual Syndrome is a set of symptoms without a specific cause, and origin related to hormonal variation. PMS appears for women always in the same period of the menstrual cycle and usually disappears with the onset of menstruation.

PMS affects 8 to 15% of women of childbearing age.

The main symptoms are mood swings (sometimes depression), swelling, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability, etc.

PMS includes a combination of physical and psychological (emotional) symptoms.

There are different treatments for PMS, divided into those that act on the psychological symptoms, such as antidepressants and anxiolytics, and those that act on the physical signs of the disease, such as contraceptives and anti-inflammatories. In case of pain, ibuprofen is particularly effective.

Complementary treatments include those based on minerals (calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium) and can, according to scientific studies, reduce the symptoms of PMS. These can be acquired through a diet rich in minerals (eg vegetables) or taken through supplements, but be careful not to exceed the recommended daily dose.

From treatment with medicinal plants, agnocastus and evening primrose oil can be indicated.

Other habits can help treat and prevent PMS, such as good stress management and eating a balanced diet (especially one containing iron and zinc).

Find in our news: Foods rich in iron and zinc used to combat PMS


Premenstrual tension (abbreviated as PMS) is a set of symptoms that appear in the days leading up to the menstrual period (usually 14 to 2 days before) and disappear after the onset of menstruation.

It is characterized by a set of psychological (nervousness, anger) and physical (pain) symptoms.


Premenstrual tension affects 8 to 15% of women of childbearing age.

It is estimated that 5 to 10% of women of childbearing age suffer a lot from premenstrual tension, experiencing very strong symptoms.

According to some medical books, between 25 to 50% of women occasionally suffer from PMS.


The exact causes of premenstrual tension are still reasons for some debates and controversies. One theory explains PMS as a hormonal imbalance, linked to a lack of estrogen.

We also observed a genetic influence of women from the same family, who suffered or suffer from premenstrual tension.

A diet high in salt, alcohol and caffeine can also lead to an intensification of some PMS symptoms.

Stress and depression seem to make some PMS symptoms worse.

Groups of risk

Women who become pregnant, those who have a miscarriage, those who miscarry at the beginning or after stopping the pill, or those who have had a case of postpartum depression are all more likely to suffer from prenatal tension. menstrual.


As we saw in the definition, the symptoms of premenstrual tension generally appear in the days that precede menstruation, theoretically between the 14th and 2nd day before menstruation, and in general disappear at the beginning of menstruation. We note that the term syndrome means a set of symptoms with no direct relationship between them, which is therefore the case of premenstrual syndrome that has up to 150 different symptoms. Below are listed the main symptoms of premenstrual tension:

Psychic symptoms of premenstrual tension

– irritability, nervousness

– depression , anxiety

– crisis of tears (great sensitivity)

– desire to eat certain foods (especially sweets)

– Concentration problems

– Lethargy

– Sleep disorders

Physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome

– headaches (headache) or migraine

– breast swelling, breast tenderness, breast pain

– swelling of the ankles (water retention)

– digestive problems: bloating, diarrhea , constipation ,…

– fatigue

– back pain

– insomnia

– crises acne

– joint and muscle pain

– nausea and vomiting

It is possible for a woman to experience strong symptoms one month and then less or no symptoms another month.

Symptoms can vary from one woman to another, being moderate or more severe (in this case, daily life is greatly disturbed).


The doctor has different means to diagnose premenstrual tension, first of all his experience, but he can also use different observational tests (ex: he can ask the patient to keep a diary where she will detail her menstrual cycle and write down your symptoms). We emphasize that the diagnosis is a matter for the doctor, so always consult one.


In our opinion, there are no serious risks, but it is important to observe if there are psychic complications as they can lead to depression or schizophrenia, and then the doctor must take this very seriously.

We observe, however, that certain diseases such as asthma , depression , various mental illnesses, thyroid diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome,… can be accentuated during the period that precedes menstruation.


There are different treatments to treat premenstrual tension:

Against psychic symptoms:

– against depression: antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as citalopram, fluoxetine or paroxetine).

– against anxiety: benzodiazepines such as alprazolam.

– relaxation techniques

Against physical symptoms:

– against different symptoms of premenstrual tension: the oral use of drugs based on natural or synthetic progesterone

– against breast tension: progesterone locally

– against different symptoms of premenstrual tension: local estradiol

– against edema: venotonics or diuretics

To combat pain and headaches, we advise:

– paracetamol

– the ibuprofen

Alternative treatment

You can also use vitamin B6 or pyridoxine to treat premenstrual tension.

Herbal medicine

Certain natural remedies such as those derived from plants or nutrients have been shown to be effective in naturally treating premenstrual tension or at least to alleviate certain symptoms:

Medicinal plants

– The agnocast , to be taken in the form of tablets.

– Donkey grass (primrose oil/donkey grass), to be taken in capsule form (1’000 mg of evening primrose oil/donkey grass, 3 times a day).

– Cimicifuga , to be taken in tablet or capsule form.

– Alchemyl , to be taken as an infusion.

Nutrients, minerals and vitamins premenstrual tension

– Calcium to be taken, for example, in tablet form, effervescent tablet, 1200 mg per day.

– Vitamin B6 ( pyridoxine ), to be taken in pill form, 5mg a day.

– Daily consumption of essential fatty acids (linoleic acid, etc.) has shown a very positive effect on many PMS symptoms, says a Brazilian study published in early 2011 and in a major international journal of medicine. It seems that the action of fatty acids is related to prolactin, a hormone that plays an important role in PMS symptoms.

– Iron : a daily intake of 18 mg of iron (from plant sources in the form of food or dietary supplements) reduces the risk of suffering from PMS by one third.

Find out more information on our iron page

– Magnesium : Taking 400 mg of magnesium a day can help reduce some of the symptoms of PMS, such as breast tenderness and water retention.

– Zinc : the intake of at least 10 mg of zinc per day reduces the risk of suffering from PMS. Find out more information on our zinc page


– First, a generally helpful tip for understanding PMS is to keep a diary detailing your cycle and your symptoms. You can talk to your doctor about your notes, this will help you diagnose better and find the best therapy for your case.

Other therapy and prevention tips allow you to combat premenstrual tension (PMS):

– Try to relax and get enough rest. You can also take a relaxing bath (for example, with lavender). Limit stress as much as possible and get enough sleep. Relaxation techniques can also have a very interesting effect on different PMS symptoms.

– Use medicinal plants (agnocasto, evening primrose, …) and consume minerals, especially iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. Eat well (diet rich in fresh vegetables and dairy products with calcium) or take food supplements. But be careful not to consume more than the recommended daily allowance (risk of some serious side effects). Consult your doctor or nutritionist.


– There is evidence that regular sports practice or at least a little physical exercise (walking, …) improves and prevents PMS.

– Adopt a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in fat. Try to avoid coffee, alcohol and excessive salt (these foods can favor PMS).

As mentioned in PMS Tips, consume minerals, especially iron , zinc , magnesium and calcium . Have a good diet (rich in fresh vegetables and dairy products with calcium) or take food supplements. But be careful not to consume more than the recommended daily allowance (risk of some serious side effects). Consult your doctor or nutritionist.

– Consume lots of fruits, vegetables and grains.

– The consumption of essential fatty acids has shown great effectiveness in the treatment of PMS symptoms.

– Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

– Reduce stress.

Jeanne Kenney
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I’m a stylist trainer, a content creator, and an entrepreneur passion. Virgo sign and Pisces ascendant, I move easily between my dreams, the crazy world I want, and my feet on the ground to carry out my projects.

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