Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS), is a complicated combination of physical and emotional symptoms that are very common among women.

It normally happens one to two weeks before a woman’s menstruation (period) starts. It is believed that almost 90% of women experience at least one PMS symptom on most months. PMS can be present in menstruating women of any age and symptoms could vary from mild to serious, depending on the individual.

Causes of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

The actual cause of PMS remains unknown. Most research suggests that cyclic hormonal changes and fluctuation of chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain are the two main contributors of PMS. Besides this, there are a few other possible factors that can lead to the occurrence of PMS, such as:

  • Malnutrition or poor eating habits (insufficient intake of essential vitamins and minerals)
  • High consumption of salt, which causes fluid retention
  • Stress and pressure
  • Alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

Symptoms of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

Common symptoms of PMS can be categorised into physical symptoms and emotional, or psychological, symptoms.


  • Breast tenderness                   
  • Weight gain                       
  • Headache                      
  • Abdominal bloating                   
  • Acne

Emotional (psychological)

  • Irritability, anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings, depression
  • Sleeping difficulties

In most women these symptoms disappear once the menstrual period begins. In some women, however, PMS might persist throughout the period cycle or even get progressively worse - daily routines or activities could be seriously affected. It is strongly recommended for you to speak to your health care professional if your PMS symptoms impact on your daily life, especially your health.

Treatment of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome

Symptomatic relief for physical symptoms such as headache or breast pain can be supplied over the counter after seeking for advice from your 777 Pharmacist. Your Pharmacist will take into consideration your personal health conditions and any medications you are currently taking.

Slight changes in your lifestyle can also help you manage your PMS more efficiently. Examples include:

  • Regular exercise
  • Limiting refined sugar, salt, caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Managing stress effectively - try relaxation activities (eg. yoga, massage) and get adequate quality sleep
  • Having frequent small meals with more fresh vegetables, fruits and wholegrains
  • Set up a PMS diary to monitor your symptoms and when they occur so you can manage them more effectively

Advice from your 777 pharmacist can also be sought if you are interested in trying any complementary or natural therapies.

Next Steps

Feel free to walk into any Pharmacy 777 store and speak with your 777 Pharmacist about your concerns regarding PMS. With answers to a few simple questions they will be able to establish what over-the-counter and complementary options are suitable for you to try.

Your 777 Pharmacist may also perform an in-store medicine review to help establish the best course of action for managing your symptoms, or refer you to your GP if they feel further investigation is necessary.


Find my nearest 777 store 

Email your 777 Pharmacist

Reference: Monash University Medicine, Nursing and Health Science. 2011. “Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and  Premenstrual Dsyphoric Disorder (PMDD)”.