When Does PMS Start in a Cycle?

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Immediately after ovulation, the menstrual cycle enters the luteal phase- the time when PMS typically begins. Because this is a critical time for conception, the hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to increase in order to prepare the uterus for an embryo. If conception does not occur, the hormone levels return to normal and the lining of the uterus sheds in a menstrual period. While an exact cause of PMS is not known, its occurrence during this phase of a menstrual cycle indicates that the hormonal changes are likely related to it.

How to Know if It Is PMS

In order to be considered PMS, symptoms must begin no earlier than day 14 of the menstrual cycle (or the day of ovulation) and extend no further than 4 days into the next cycle (after the menstrual flow begins). Symptoms will likely inhibit the woman's life in some form or fashion. PMS typically appears as cramping, bloating, irritability, fatigue, sore breasts and headaches, among a few other things. If the symptoms and timing coincide, it is likely PMS.

The Luteal Phase

Also called the premenstrual phase or ovulatory phase, this is a pivotal time for those trying to conceive. A normal cycle will result in ovulation on the 14th day and the luteal phase will extend for 14 days beyond that, ending in a menstrual period. This time can be intense for some women and asymptomatic for others. Symptoms of PMS can extend for the entire luteal phase.

How to Know If PMS Is Approaching

Although there are medications on the market to treat severe cases of PMS, there are no known cures available. Therefore, it is beneficial to know when PMS is approaching in order to prepare the mind and body for that phase. Ovulation test kits can determine whether ovulation has occurred, but they are not practical for everyday use. The female body goes through regular patterns of changes each month that can indicate that ovulation and the luteal phase are approaching. Body temperature, cervical fluid and position, symptoms and the passage of time are all factors that can be charted and documented to indicate the phases of a menstrual cycle. Once the luteal phase and PMS appears, a prepared woman is ready to eat well, exercise and plan on plenty of rest to cope with the symptoms.


Works Cited

Women's Health Center: Information on Women's Wellness, Nutrition, Fitness, Intimate Questions, and Weight Loss
"Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) Causes and Treatments."

Merck & Co., Inc.
" Menstrual Cycle: Biology of the Female Reproductive System: Merck Manual Home Edition ."

National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health
"Premenstrual Syndrome: MedlinePlus."

purplearrowExpert Opinion

Quote:  "I've learned firsthand that menstrual cycles, our most basic biological rhythm, can be a window to our whole selves. For years, I had bad PMS. I knew that my period was near when I suddenly found myself sobbing at television commercials -- yes, commercials -- and obsessing about issues in my life that had been there all along but suddenly seemed out of control. I dismissed these feelings as "just my hormones" and impatiently waited for them to pass, so I could get back to being myself."

Source:   Dr. Traci Gaudet A New Approach to PMS


Quote:  "The complexity of the menstrual cycle and the fact that many women aren't terribly familiar with their bodies or their cycles help perpetuate a number of myths about a woman's period..."

Source:   Scalise, Dagmara. The everything health guide to PMS: the essential guide to reducing discomfort, minimizing symptoms, and feeling your best.

Avon, Mass.: Adams Media, 2007. Print.

purple arrowCite this Article

"When Does PMS Start in a Cycle?." Sophisticated Edge. N.p., n.d. Web. . <http://www.sophisticatededge.com/when-does-pms-start-in-a-cycle.html>.  

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to treat or diagnose any health problems or illnesses without consulting a physician. It is not meant to take the place of health care or services you may need. Please consult a physician with any questions you may have regarding your health.

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