Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD may cause emotional and physical symptoms that are severe enough to disrupt your daily life. The symptoms typically begin one to two weeks before your period and improve within a few days of starting.
What causes PMDD?
The exact cause of PMDD is not known. However, some research suggests that the changes in hormone levels that occur during the menstrual cycle may play a role in PMDD. Low levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that affects mood, may also be a contributing factor.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
The symptoms of PMDD usually occur during the last week of the menstrual cycle and improve within a few days of starting. The symptoms may vary from person to person but may include:
- Severe depression
- Irritability, anger or increased interpersonal conflicts
- Feeling anxious or tense
- Mood swings
- Decreased interest in activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue or low energy
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Changes in appetite or food cravings
- Joint or muscle pain
- Headache or migraines
- Bloating, water retention or weight gain
How is PMDD diagnosed?
A diagnosis of PMDD is made by a healthcare provider. The provider will ask about your symptoms and how they are impacting your daily life. The provider may also ask you to keep a daily diary of your symptoms for at least two menstrual cycles to assist in the diagnosis of PMDD.
How is PMDD treated?
The treatment for PMDD depends on the severity of your symptoms and how they impact your daily life. There are several ways to manage the symptoms of PMDD, including:
- Lifestyle changes: Regular exercise, a healthy diet and adequate sleep may help to reduce the severity of PMDD symptoms.
- Medications: Certain medications such as antidepressants, birth control pills or hormone therapy may be used to treat the symptoms of PMDD. These medications should be taken only under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
- Alternative therapies: Some people have found relief from PMDD symptoms with alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage or relaxation techniques.
What is the outlook for PMDD?
The outlook for PMDD is generally positive with appropriate treatment. Most people find relief from their symptoms and are able to manage the disorder. However, it is essential to seek treatment from a qualified healthcare provider to ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment for your condition.
PMDD is a severe form of PMS that can cause emotional and physical symptoms that are severe enough to disrupt your daily life. The symptoms usually occur during the last week of the menstrual cycle and improve within a few days of starting. The exact cause of PMDD is not known, but changes in hormone levels and low levels of serotonin may play a role. PMDD can be managed with lifestyle changes, medications or alternative therapies. Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you may have PMDD.
What are the common symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS that significantly impacts a woman’s quality of life. The most common symptoms associated with PMDD include mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, bloating, and muscle aches. These symptoms usually appear during the luteal phase or the days leading up to the menstrual cycle and can last until the onset of menstruation.
How is PMDD diagnosed?
Diagnosing PMDD can be challenging as its symptoms can often be mistaken for other conditions like depression or anxiety. A doctor may ask questions about a woman’s medical history, conduct a physical exam, and run blood tests to rule out other possible causes before making a diagnosis. At times, they may also recommend medication or counselling to manage the symptoms of PMDD.
What are the treatment options for PMDD?
PMDD can be managed with medication or lifestyle changes. Treatments for PMDD usually focus on reducing or alleviating the symptoms associated with the condition. Some women may benefit from antidepressants, hormonal therapies like birth control pills or surgeries like hysterectomy, and oophorectomy to manage the symptoms of PMDD. Lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and a healthy diet can also help in managing the symptoms of PMDD.
1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
2. Endicott, J., Nee, J., Harrison, W., & Blumenthal, R. (2006). Quality of life enjoyment and satisfaction questionnaire—Short form for premenstrual disorders (PMS QOL-SF). Journal of Women’s Health, 15(5), 524–532. https://doi.org/10.1089/jwh.2006.15.524
3. Steiner, M., Born, L., & Steiner, J. (2000). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Review of the literature. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 21(4), 211–228. https://doi.org/10.3109/01674820009075617