It's normal for women, especially those in their 30s and 40s, to at least sometimes experience symptoms such as irritability or bloating in the days leading up to their period. This is often called premenstrual tension (PMT).

For some women, these and other symptoms are more of a problem, lasting longer and stopping them from doing activities they would normally do. This is usually called premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Around 200 different symptoms associated with PMS and/or PMT have been described.

These include:

  • irritability, mood swings, crying, difficulty concentrating and feelings of hopelessness
  • changes in sleep
  • tiredness
  • bloating
  • changes in appetite, overeating or specific food cravings
  • weight gain
  • skin changes
  • breast tenderness or pain
  • headaches 

PMS is a frustrating problem that affects many women to some extent and a small number severely. Although there isn't an easy solution, it's important to try and improve your general health and seek help from a doctor, especially if your condition doesn't improve.

Organisations that specialise in this area of reproductive and/or sexual health

Where to get more information, support or advice

  • Contact your local doctor (GP)
  • Contact Family Planning Victoria's clinics


This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information  varies  from   person  to   person,  depending  on individual circumstances.   You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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Last updated: 5 June 2016

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