Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a condition familiar to many women. It is estimated to affect between 20% and 50% of women of reproductive age. Also known as ovarian cycle syndrome or premenstrual tension, it's defined as a set of symptoms (e.g., moodiness, bloating, breast tenderness) that comes on a few days before the start of a menstrual period. Unfortunately, PMS is poorly understood.
Different women will experience different PMS symptoms, and not every woman experiences PMS. For some women, PMS may cause major discomfort and even disrupt normal activities. Some are totally unaffected and feel perfectly fine during the days leading up to menstruation.
Other women (roughly 5%) may have a more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Women with this form of PMS may suffer severe depression, anger, or low self-esteem along with other symptoms.