Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a condition familiar to many women. Also known premenstrual tension, PMT, it is 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 and its exact cause is unknown.

PMS isn't considered a serious condition, and different women will experience different symptoms. For some women, PMS may cause major discomfort and even disrupt normal activities. Not every woman experiences PMS. Some are totally unaffected and feel perfectly fine during the days leading up to menstruation.

Symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to two weeks before the start of a menstrual period. They usually stop when your period begins. In women close to menopause, symptoms may continue through and after menstruation. Some women go on to have painful periods after experiencing PMS.

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