Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) describes a range of physical and psychological symptoms that can occur…
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is when a woman experiences severe symptoms before her monthly period.
- Symptoms can include physical pains and aches, changes in mood, and problems sleeping and concentrating.
- The best treatment for PMDD is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Medications and therapy can also help ease PMDD symptoms.
What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder?
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) occurs when a woman experiences severe psychological and physical symptoms before her monthly period (menstruation). The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those of premenstrual syndrome.
Causes and risk factors
Factors associated with the condition include:
Signs and symptoms
The symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and include:
- Anxiety and panic attacks;
- Headaches, bloating and breast tenderness;
- Joint or muscle pain;
- Trouble sleeping;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Irritability, and;
- Feeling sad, hopeless, lonely, or sometimes suicidal.
Five or more of the above symptoms, of which at least one is a symptom related to mood, have to be present for a diagnosis of PMDD to be made.
Methods for diagnosis
Your doctor will likely perform a physical examination to rule out other conditions. Evaluation may also help rule out mental health conditions such as depression. Often, keeping a diary of when you experience symptoms could help your doctor make a diagnosis.
Types of treatment
The main line of treatment for PMDD is maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep and exercise.
Additional treatments that may be used include:
- Diuretics, for women who retain a lot of water;
- Medications that suppress ovulation, such as the oral contraceptive pill ('The Pill');
- Nutritional supplements;
- Pain-relief medications for headache, menstrual cramping and breast tenderness, and;
- Cognitive behaviour therapy alongside or instead of antidepressant medication for depression, if you have it.
Symptoms of PMDD can have an impact on daily life. If you have depression, then your symptoms may be worse in the second half of your cycle and your medication may need to be changed.
With treatment, symptoms usually resolve for most women.