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The many faces of PMS

reading time: 5 minutes reading time
many faces of PMS

The symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) feel a lot like an awkward encounter with your ex: incredibly annoying, often painful and seemingly endless.

Several of these will be all too familiar to many of us: nausea, painful cramps, bloating, fatigue and generally hating the world because it’s just the worst. But, aside from these, PMS can manifest itself in loads of different ways, which you may not have associated with your period at all. Read on and see if any of these sound familiar.

Hands and feet swelling

In the days leading up to and during your period, your body retains more water, which leads to that lovely bloated feeling1. As well as affecting your stomach and abdomen, bloating can also cause your hands and feet to inflate like a puffer fish. That’s just swell, isn’t it.

If this sounds familiar and you want to reduce the ballooning effect, try drinking plenty of water and cutting out salty foods, as well as eating bananas and other foods high in potassium2. Drinking more water may seem counterintuitive, but if your tissues know they are well hydrated, your body is less likely to hold on to excess water.


Not looking like an idiot is hard enough at the best of times, but have you ever felt like you can’t even stand still without falling head-over-heels or knocking something over during your period? The precise cause for increased clumsiness is not known, but it is accepted as a symptom of PMS3. So remember, next time you trip and throw your coffee all over your boss, it’s not your fault, it’s your period’s.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

I’m sure many of you know the feeling, your friends are going out and having a great time, but you just don’t feel up to it. This may be the result of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD), which can lead to anxiety, depression, anger and feeling out of control4. At its worst, PDD can have a significant impact on women’s lives, both personally and professionally. The good news is scientists have recently discovered that PDD is caused by an abnormal cellular response to oestrogen and progesterone5. Therefore, this proves that some women are predisposed to increased stress and anxiety during their period. We hope that findings like this will give society a greater appreciation of PDD and the symptoms of PMS, which could eventually lead to a change in the attitudes towards these conditions.

These are just a snapshot of the 150+ symptoms that are associated with PMS4. Others include, to name a few, insomnia, constipation, diarrhoea, heightened senses, gum disease, asthma and increased susceptibility to injury6. And we go through this once a month? Heroes.

It is important to note that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they persist beyond your monthly cycle, you should speak to your doctor. Additionally, if you are interested in having fewer periods, ask your doctor about contraceptive options to reduce your number of periods.


  1. Accessed on 09/01/17
  2. Accessed on 02/06/17
  3. Accessed on 05/06/17
  4. Accessed on 09/01/17
  5. Accessed on 05.06.17
  6. Accessed on 09/01/17