About AOA

The joys of motherhood are never fully experienced until all the children are in bed.
- Unknown


Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a wide range of physical or emotional symptoms that typically occur about 5 to 11 days before a woman starts her monthly menstrual cycle. It is estimated that PMS affects up to 75% of women during their childbearing years. The symptoms usually stop when menstruation begins, or shortly thereafter.

The exact cause of PMS has not been identified. PMS may be related to social, cultural, biological, and psychological factors. There is some evidence that changes in brain hormone levels may play a role, but this has not been proven. Women with premenstrual syndrome may also respond differently to these hormones.

PMS occurs more often in women:

  • Between their late 20s and early 40s
  • Who have at least one child
  • With a personal or family history of major depression
  • With a history of postpartum depression or an affective mood disorder
PMS refers to a set of physical, behavioral, or emotional symptoms that tend to:
  • Start during the second half of the menstrual cycle (14 days or more after the first day of your last menstrual period)
  • Go away 4 - 7 days after a menstrual period ends (during the first half of the menstrual cycle)
The symptoms typically get worse in a woman's late 30s and 40s as she approaches the transition to menopause.
Understanding Your Symptoms
It is important to keep a daily diary or log to record the type of symptoms you have, how severe they are, and how long they last. You should keep this "symptom diary" for at least 3 months. It will help your AOA doctor make an accurate PMS diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.
The most common physical symptoms include:
  • Abdominal fullness, gas
  • Bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Clumsiness
  • Headache
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating 

If you believe you are experiencing PMS symptoms, the most important thing you can do is create your 3-month symptom diary. Not only will it help you better understand your monthly cycle, it will give your AOA doctor valuable information for targeting a treatment specific to you.