What is PMDD?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a hormone-based mood disorder that impacts women and individuals assigned as female at birth (AFAB). The symptoms arise during the premenstrual or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and lasting until the menstrual flow begins. It is estimated 5-10% of women, and AFAB individuals of reproductive age have PMDD.

April is PMDD awareness month, and we’d like to shed light on PMDD.

Symptoms:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies, daily life, and relationships

  • Irritability

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Tiredness

  • Increased Crying

  • Trouble Sleeping

  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

PMS Vs. PMDD:

PMS and PMDD have similar symptoms - irritability, food cravings, and increased anxiety, to name a few. The main difference between the two is the impact it has on daily life. Those who have PMS can go to work continue to pursue their hobbies and daily life activities. While those with PMS may have irritability and experience changes in their mood, they are generally able to function.

Those living with PMDD have severe symptoms that interfere with daily living. They are unable to go to work, often calling out for a few days or a week every month before their menstrual cycle starts. Personal relationships suffer as irritability and mood shifts impact their ability to maintain regulated emotional responses. Those suffering from PMDD often feel like they are a different person the week leading up to their menstrual cycle as they may become snappy and moody.

Diagnosis:

While there is no standard blood or image test for PMDD as it is a mood disorder, PMDD is typically diagnosed when a woman or AFAB individuals track their cycle over the course of a year, if they experience 5 or more of the common PMDD symptoms and the condition impacts their daily living, they most likely have PMDD.*

Treatment:

Treatment of PMDD ranges from anti-depressants to birth control pills to medically induced menopause.

In addition to medical interventions, improving self-care such as exercise, eating a balanced diet, and B6, calcium, and magnesium supplements may be used to help treat PMDD.

Resources:

International Association For Premenstrual Disorders (IAPMD)

Vicious Cycle PMDD

Me v PMDD

PMDD is a serious condition. Due to menstrual and mental health stigma in many societies, women and AFAB individuals struggle for years to receive a proper diagnosis as medical professionals note patients are experiencing PMS vs. PMDD. You can find a trusted PMDD provider by searching this database.

*Please note, only a medical professional can diagnose and treat PMDD.