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Suffering from severe PMS? It could be PMDD

Do you dread your period? If you suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), it could be PMDD


Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While PMS affects many women, only a small percentage suffer from PMDD. PMDD is a form of PMS characterized by extreme mood and behavior changes. These changes can be so severe that they interfere with work, school, or social activities. Although PMDD is not as well-known as PMS, it affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age.

PMDD symptoms are similar to those of PMS but are much more severe. Women with PMDD may feel depressed, anxious, suicidal, or irritable, have trouble sleeping, and even suffer from panic attacks. Physical symptoms can include fatigue, bloating, and breast pain. They can include depression, anxiety, irritability, suicidal thoughts, crying spells, and mood swings. Physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches are also common.

The cause of PMDD is unknown, but it is thought to be related to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Treatment typically involves medication and lifestyle changes. If you have PMDD, talk to your doctor about your symptoms.

How is PMDD different from PMS? Severe PMS vs. PMDD

The difference between severe PMS and PMDD is often confusing because both involve physical and emotional symptoms. However, there are some key distinctions.

Severe PMS generally refers to a more intense experience of the typical premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, cramps, irritability, and mood swings. The symptoms of PMS are typically milder and do not usually interfere with a woman’s ability to function. On the other hand, PMDD is characterized by additional symptoms that interfere with everyday life, such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. For many women with PMDD, these symptoms are so severe that they can’t function normally. As a result, PMDD is often diagnosed as a depressive disorder. While both conditions can be debilitating, it’s important to be aware of the differences to get the right treatment.

Symptoms of PMDD

PMDD is characterized by symptoms that interfere with work, school, and social activities. Symptoms typically begin one to two weeks before menstruation and end when bleeding starts.

The most common symptoms of PMDD are depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, insomnia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, inability to handle stress, and bloating. Other symptoms include headaches, breast tenderness, joint and muscle pain, and changes in appetite.

PMDD is diagnosed after other conditions have been ruled out and a woman has experienced at least five of the above symptoms for several months. There is no cure for PMDD, but treatments can help lessen the symptoms.

Who is most likely to experience PMDD

Women with a history of depression or other mood disorders are at increased risk for PMDD. This may be due to genetic factors or changes in brain chemistry. Women with a family member with PMDD are also more likely to experience the condition themselves. Women with a history of PMDD can have a pattern of severe symptoms that get better or worse over time, even if they don’t experience the symptoms every month. The severity and length of symptoms are also affected by whether or not the woman takes hormonal birth control. It can also be affected by whether or not she has a regular menstrual cycle.

A new study has found that women in their early twenties are most likely to suffer from PMDD, with the disorder occurring most often during their late twenties. The study, which is the first to focus specifically on PMDD, found that the prevalence of the disorder is highest among women aged 20-29. This age group represents a significantly higher risk for developing PMDD than any other age group studied.

Women with PMDD may have other mental health disorders that worsen their symptoms. They are more likely to experience depression and anxiety disorders, mainly if they do not receive treatment for their symptoms.  On the other hand, women with PMDD may be misdiagnosed as having a depressive or anxiety disorder. 

Stressful life events, such as divorce or the death of a loved one, can trigger PMDD in susceptible women.

Causes of PMDD

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the causes of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, are still unknown. However, there are some theories about what may contribute to the development of this condition.

One theory is that PMDD is caused by a sensitivity to the hormone changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. This theory is supported by the fact that symptoms of PMDD tend to disappear during pregnancy when hormone levels are stable. However, the exact mechanism behind this is still unknown. Another theory suggests that PMDD is caused by a sensitivity to environmental factors that affect hormone levels during the menstrual cycle. Research has shown that psychological factors can contribute to the development of PMDD. Factors such as stress, a history of sexual or physical abuse, and a family history of depression can all increase a woman’s risk for developing PMDD.

Another theory suggests that PMDD may be caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters, chemicals that carry messages between nerve cells in the brain. One neurotransmitter that seems to be involved in the development of PMDD is serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that affects mood and emotions, but low serotonin levels have also been linked to depression. This theory is supported by the fact that medications that treat conditions like depression and anxiety, which are also associated with imbalances in neurotransmitters, can also be effective in treating PMDD.

Treatment options for PMDD

There are several different treatment options for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and the best option for each individual may vary depending on the severity of symptoms and other factors. Some common treatments include medication, supplements, lifestyle changes, and therapy.


Lifestyle changes can help to manage symptoms of PMDD. There are a number of lifestyle changes that can improve PMDD. First, regular exercise can help to improve mood and reduce stress. Second, eating a healthy diet can help to regulate hormones and reduce PMDD symptoms. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine helps reduce symptoms. Finally, getting enough sleep and managing stress can also help reduce PMDD symptoms.

Several different types of therapy can help to improve the symptoms of PMDD. One of the most effective therapies is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT helps change how you think about your symptoms and can help you better manage them.

Other effective therapies for PMDD include Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and psychodynamic therapy. IPT helps to improve communication and coping skills, while psychodynamic therapy helps to address underlying emotional issues.

Medications are the most common treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). These medications can help relieve mood swings, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. They may also help with pain and other physical symptoms associated with PMDD.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed, as they can help balance serotonin levels in the brain. Other medications that may be helpful include birth control pills, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotics.

Birth control pills help regulate a woman’s hormones and reduce the severity of her PMDD symptoms. For those who want a more natural approach, bioidentical hormone replacement can help PMDD symptoms. Bioidentical progesterone can help regulate a woman’s cycle without the adverse effects of birth control pills and other synthetic hormone replacements.


There are a variety of supplements that can help relieve the symptoms of PMDD. One supplement that has shown promise in treating PMDD is calcium. A study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that women who took calcium supplements significantly reduced symptoms such as depression, irritability, and bloating. Calcium may help to regulate hormone levels and reduce inflammation.

Another supplement that has been studied for its potential to treat PMDD is omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and may help reduce PMDD symptoms.

Herbs have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, and PMDD is no exception. There are a number of herbs that can help relieve the symptoms of PMDD, including:

Chasteberry: Chasteberry is a herb that is effective in treating PMDD. It works by regulating the levels of hormones in the body, which can help to reduce the symptoms of PMDD.

Dong Quai: Dong Quai is another herb traditionally used to treat PMDD. It is thought to work by helping to balance the levels of hormones in the body.

Black cohosh: Black cohosh is another herb that has been traditionally used for the treatment of PMDD. It is thought to work by helping to regulate estrogen levels in the body, which can help reduce the symptoms of PMDD.

Living with PMDD

Living with PMDD can be challenging but manageable with the right lifestyle changes, supplements, and medications. By following the treatment options in this blog, women with PMDD can relieve many of their symptoms of PMDD and live their lives undisrupted by monthly hormonal changes.

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