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MagazineCauses and symptoms of PMS
Causes et Symptômes du SPM

Causes and symptoms of PMS

The causes of PMS

The causes of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) remain difficult to establish. The multiplicity of symptoms and the influence of environmental factors complicate the studies.

Several approaches are currently being used to elucidate the causes of PMS. Here is a summary:

  • The hormonal theory

The onset of PMS symptoms is thought to be associated with ovarian hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
Women with PMS are hypersensitive to the normal hormonal variations that occur during their menstrual cycle1/2.
Symptoms are often alleviated during pregnancy, after menopause or when taking treatment to inhibit ovulation, thus demonstrating the role of ovarian function.
However, the exact role of ovarian function in the onset, manifestation and relief of symptoms remains to be determined1.

  • The neuroendocrine theory

Psychological symptoms that are concomitant with PMS are thought to be related to certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin or GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid).
Psychological premenstrual symptoms can be improved by antidepressants that help stabilise neurotransmitters such as serotonin on the one hand, and anxiolytics that affect GABA on the other².

  • Other factors

Finally, there is a possible correlation between lifestyle and eating habits, such as excessively sweet food, high consumption of stimulants such as coffee and alcohol, certain vitamin deficiencies (calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamins B, E and linolenic acid) and the occurrence of PMS.


What are the symptoms of PMS?

PMS symptoms can vary in duration and intensity from one woman to another. In the United
States, over 200 symptoms are officially listed.

For clarity’s sake, we have listed the main symptoms3 below in three main categories.

Physical symptoms:

  • Mastodynia: tense, swollen, tender breasts
  • Venous disorders: venous insufficiency, impatience, leg heaviness, water retention, swelling, oedema
  • Pain: abdominal pain, joint pain, back pain, headaches
  • Bloating, weight gain

Psychological symptoms:

  • Mood disorders: anxiety, depression, mood swings, loss of self-confidence, irritability, anger, aggressiveness, restlessness, sensitivity, tension, panic, crying
  • Cognitive disorders: confusion, difficulty to concentrate, forgetfulness

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Fatigue, insomnia, sleep disorders
  • Food cravings or bulimia
  • Change in libido: frequent decrease
  • Dizziness

PMS can also exacerbate the features of previously diagnosed or latent health problems by intensifying their symptoms a few days before the period.


Observe, listen and describe what you feel and get to know yourself better

Not all women experience their menstrual cycle the same way.
Some women still have low manifestation or understanding of how they feel during their menstrual cycle, which can be physically painful and/or psychologically tumultuous.

Each day of your cycle, OLI invites you to take the time to observe and listen to your body and mind, to name what you are feeling in order to know yourself better. This will also allow us to offer you personalised content.

You will also have the opportunity to write your journal in complete privacy. Journaling is an excellent technique for getting to know yourself better. Writing allows you to delve deeply into yourself, to deepen your self-discovery or simply to free yourself from your thoughts.

Please note: if certain symptoms seriously affect your daily activities, we strongly suggest you
consult a doctor.

References :

  1. Ryu A, Kim T-H. Premenstrual syndrome: A mini review. Maturitas. déc 2015;82(4):436‑40.
  2. Schmidt et al., 1998
  3. Extrait du DSM5 Manuel diagnostique et statistique des troubles mentaux de l’Association américaine de psychiatrie


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