premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

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premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

group of physical and emotional symptoms defined as occurring in the 14 days prior to menstruation, relieved almost immediately by the onset of the period, and having at least a 7-day symptom-free break in each cycle. Athletes are encouraged to complete a menstrual diary to help confirm the diagnosis and rule out other gynaecological or psychological conditions. Symptoms include irritability, headache, poor concentration, mood swings, disrupted sleep pattern, headaches, breast tenderness and abdominal bloating and cramps. PMS occurs as a result of the hormonal changes, particularly the rise in progesterone, which occur at that phase of the cycle. The importance in sport is the potential effect on performance of some female athletes, though there is a huge variation among them and no attributable effect in the majority. Treatment can include lifestyle and training modification, with hormonal manipulation to alleviate the symptoms or to manipulate the cycle to avoid times of participation. See also menstrual cycle.