Common Habits that Can Make PMS Symptoms Worse All of a Sudden

Dinesh Patel
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Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
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PMS symptoms worse all of a sudden

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a monthly ordeal many women face, with symptoms ranging from irritability and mood swings to cramping and bloating. 

While it’s normal to experience some discomfort before your period, severe PMS symptoms can be debilitating. 

If your PMS symptoms have suddenly worsened, it might be due to certain lifestyle habits. 

In this article, we’ll explore some common habits that can make PMS symptoms worse all of a sudden and provide tips on alleviating these symptoms.

Excessive caffeine consumption

Caffeine can worsen PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) symptoms in several ways:


Caffeine is a moderate diuretic, causing increased urine production and dehydration.

Dehydration can exacerbate bloating and water retention, common PMS symptoms

Disrupts sleep

Caffeine stimulates the nervous system that can prevent people from falling asleep. 

Its consumption can worsen insomnia for women with PMS who already have sleep problems, leading to daytime exhaustion, irritation, and difficulty concentrating.

Lack of physical activity

The research found that female students who had physical education classes less than twice a week had a higher occurrence of PMS. 

This suggests that regular physical exercise might help reduce the risk of PMS.

Physical symptoms

regular exerciseSource: Jacob_Lund
Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, like swimming or jogging, can reduce PMS symptoms by affecting hormones and substances in the body.

Exercise can reduce physical symptoms like swelling, weight gain, headaches, and breast pain. 

Psychological symptoms

Aerobic exercise also positively affects psychological symptoms of PMS, like depression and anxiety. 

It influences brain chemicals like Endorphins, which improve mood and reduce stress.

Anxiety is not an uncommon symptom during PMS. It can be from mild feelings of unease to severe anxiety attacks. If you notice heightened anxiety during PMS, talk to a healthcare professional or therapist who can guide managing anxiety.


Smoking inhibits blood flow and circulation, leading to hormonal imbalances that can worsen PMS. 

Physical symptoms

Smoking could worsen physical symptoms of PMS, like bloating or breast pain. 

It affects PMS by messing with hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone

It might also influence other hormones like Testosterone and disrupt the menstrual cycle. 

Smoking can lower vitamin D levels, which have been linked to PMS.

Currently smoking

A study found that women currently smoking were 1.78 times more likely to have PMS than non-smokers. 

For PMDD, the likelihood was even higher at 2.92 times.

Amount and duration of smoking

The more cigarettes a woman smoked daily, the higher her chances of having PMS or PMDD. 

Women who have smoked for a long time (measured in pack years) are more likely to have PMS and PMDD.

PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects some individuals who menstruate. PMDD is characterized by a combination of emotional and physical symptoms that occur in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. 


Chronic stress can disrupt hormone balance, exacerbating PMS symptoms.

Stress just before Menstruation

stressed woman at workplaceSource: marinesea
Stressed woman

A study found that women who feel stressed in the two weeks leading up to their period are more likely to experience stronger and more uncomfortable symptoms.

These symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and physical discomforts like bloating and body aches.

Change in stress levels

Women whose stress levels changed from one cycle to the next had a change in symptom severity. 

Those whose stress levels decreased from high to low had fewer symptoms in the subsequent cycle, while those whose levels increased from low to high had more symptoms.

Recommended Article
To know how to reduce PMS symptoms, read How to Reduce PMS Symptoms Naturally? Know Your Options


Experiencing the sudden worsening of PMS symptoms can be frustrating and debilitating for many women. 

However, it’s important to recognize that certain lifestyle habits can exacerbate this. 

Excessive caffeine consumption can elevate stress hormones and disrupt sleep. 

This can intensify irritability, anxiety, and mood swings during PMS.

Lack of physical activity can contribute to severe PMS symptoms, making it essential to incorporate regular exercise into your routine to help balance hormones.

Smoking, especially current smoking and prolonged duration of tobacco, can disrupt hormonal balance and increase the likelihood of severe PMS or PMDD. 

Chronic stress is another significant contributor to worsened PMS symptoms. 

Incorporating healthier habits into your lifestyle, like reducing caffeine and sodium intake and quitting smoking, can make a significant difference in the sudden worsening of PMS symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can PMS symptoms start suddenly?

Yes, PMS symptoms can indeed start suddenly for some women. While some individuals may experience a gradual onset of symptoms, others might notice a sudden shift in mood or physical discomfort as their hormones fluctuate. Stress, diet, and sleep patterns can influence how abruptly PMS symptoms manifest.

How many days before the period are PMS symptoms the worst?

PMS symptoms peak in severity during the week or two leading up to menstruation. This period is known as the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle when hormonal changes are most pronounced. However, the exact timing can different to different women.

Why is PMS worse for some months?

PMS can vary in intensity from month to month due to a combination of factors. Hormonal fluctuations are a primary contributor, as different months can bring about varying levels of Estrogen and Progesterone. Additionally, stress levels and lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, and sleep can influence the severity of PMS symptoms.

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