PMS Signs and Symptoms

PMS has been characterized by more than 150 symptoms, ranging from mood swings to weight gain to acne. The symptoms vary from woman to woman and cycle to cycle. For some women, the symptoms may be mild or moderate, and for others, they may be so severe as to be incapacitating.

Common symptoms of PMS include the following:

  • Mood-related ("affective") symptoms: sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, frequent and severe mood swings
  • Mental process ("cognitive") symptoms: decreased concentration, indecision
  • Pain: headache (e.g., menstrual migraine), breast tenderness, joint and muscle pain
  • Nervous system symptoms: insomnia (sleeplessness), hypersomnia (sleeping for abnormally long periods of time), anorexia (loss of appetite), food cravings, fatigue, lethargy, agitation, a change in sex drive, clumsiness, dizziness or vertigo, paresthesia (prickling or tingling sensation)
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms: nausea, diarrhea
  • Fluid and electrolyte symptoms: bloating, weight gain, oliguria (reduced urination)
  • Palpitations (rapid fluttering of the heart), sweating
  • Skin symptoms: acne, oily skin, greasy or dry hair

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Oct 2000

Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015