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Everything You Need to Know About PMS and PMT


Many women experience physical and emotional changes just before and during their period. These symptoms, which usually begin 7-14 days before a period, are known as either Pre-Menstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Pre-Menstrual Tension (PMT). 

Did you know that approximately 1 in 3 women suffer mild or severe symptoms of PMS/PMT?

If you’re looking for further information or advice, find the answers you’re looking for here. At Home Health UK, we have pulled together the most frequently asked questions surrounding PMS and PMT to provide a comprehensive guide to symptoms and more. 

Plus, you can find a variety of feminine care products from our collection with free UK delivery.  


What is the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle varies in every female. However, most women have cycles that last 25 – 35 days, though having a slightly shorter or longer cycle is still quite normal. Every month, it is common for your cycle to vary by a couple of days. To calculate the length of your cycle, you count the first day you begin bleeding as day one, and then the last day you count is the day before your next period starts. Find more information on the menstrual cycle in our guide at Home Health UK.

What does PMS stand for?

PMS stands for Premenstural Syndrome. 

What does PMT stand for?

PMT stands for Premenstrual Tension.

Is there a difference between PMS and PMT?

There is no difference between PMT and PMS; they are the same things. However, some argue that PMS better describes the range of symptoms women can experience. Usually, the terms are interchangeable. 


What causes PMS?

It is unknown why some people get PMS and others don’t or why some suffer more than others. The general view is that monthly hormone changes trigger all the symptoms. In severe cases, doctors say it could be the woman’s body that is over-sensitive to their own progesterone. Other theories are based on the individual’s lifestyle and social pressures. 

PMS is more common in women who have had children, eat a diet high in salt and sugar, don’t take regular exercise or those with high-stress levels


What are the symptoms of PMS?

All women are different, and some women may suffer many painful symptoms. In contrast, others have such minor symptoms that might even go unnoticed. These symptoms tend to disappear or greatly improve once the bleeding actually starts. 

To be sure that PMS is the cause of your symptoms, you should keep a record of your symptoms over three months, what they are and when they occur. If there is a pattern to your symptoms, e.g. they happen around the middle of your menstrual cycle, then PMS is the likely diagnosis. You can use this record to show your doctor. 

Some of the symptoms you may experience with PMS could include one or a few of the following:

  • Tender swollen breasts
  • Headaches, Backache, Stomach cramps
  • Feeling irritable, Feelings of aggression
  • Stomach bloating, Fluid retention
  • Acne outbreaks
  • Weight gain, Food cravings
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Clumsiness, Tiredness, Tearfulness

How to control PMS anger

If you have noticed that passing anger is a common symptom you face with PMS, understandably, you may be looking for ways to control it. To deal with PMS anger, in particular, you should try and avoid triggers which may worsen your mood swings. For example, try and cut out alcohol and monitor how this affects your mood. 

Alternatively, why not look into classic stress management tools, such as meditation and breathwork?


What can I do to relieve the symptoms of PMS?

Doctors can prescribe certain drugs (e.g. Prozac™ – an antidepressant drug) to help reduce some symptoms. However, the majority of these may have some side effects. The contraceptive pill is also very effective in controlling a woman’s period and is suitable for women who require contraception. To help relieve the symptoms yourself, try the following:

  • Make time for regular exercise.
  • Plan your own relaxation time.
  • Talk to others to see what helps them – you will find you aren’t alone.
  • Take painkillers to relieve the symptoms of headaches and stomach cramps.
  • Take water tablets to reduce bloating. These are available over the counter; ask your pharmacist for advice.
  • Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink. Caffeine tends to worsen P.M.S. symptoms.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol when symptoms occur; some women find it can worsen the symptoms.
  • Try to drink plenty of water to prevent bloating.
  • Stick to a healthy balanced diet. Try to keep your blood sugar levels constant to maintain energy and minimise mood swings and cravings. So try to cut down on fat, sugar, salt and red meat in favour of cereals, leafy green vegetables and fruit.
  • Avoid going for more than 3 hours without food; aim for three starchy meals daily with snacks.
  • If you have stomach cramps, try putting a hot water bottle on your stomach.


Alternatively, the following vitamins and supplements have all been recommended by P.M.S. sufferers:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Magnesium and calcium
  • Some women also find that taking a recommended daily allowance (R.D.A.) of evening primrose oil can help reduce the tenderness of their breasts.


Does PMS get worse with age?

Unfortunately, as you age and begin the approach to menopause, PMS symptoms may worsen. You may begin to notice these symptoms get worse in your 30s and 40s, which is, on average, the premenopause stage for most women. 

As you approach menopause, your hormone levels are erratic and even more unpredictable than usual as your body slowly transitions to this new state. However, you can look forward to your PMS coming to an end once you are menopausal. 


Further Help and Advice

If you’re worried about your experience with PMS or any related symptoms, speak to your GP or Doctor for further advice on any concerns you may have. 

Alternatively, find more information on periods and the menstrual cycle from our helpful and handy guide. Plus, look for pain relief to ease your symptoms and more feminine care products, like menstrual cups, available at Home Health UK today.