Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder with symptoms showing up during the premenstrual, or luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and subsiding within a few days of menstruation. It affects 8-10% women during their reproductive years. While it was initially thought as a “hormonal imbalance”, recent studies show that symptoms of PMDD are our bodies reaction to natural rise and fall of the estrogen and progesterone and it has been noted that childbirth, menopause, perimenopause may intensify these symptoms. Individuals with PMDD are at an increased risk for suicide and suicidal behavior. PMDD is not caused by sexual trauma, or sexual intercourse.
Symptoms of PMDD include:
- Mood/emotional changes
- Irritability, anger, or increased interpersonal conflict
- Depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, feeling worthless or guilty
- Anxiety, tension, or feelings of being keyed up or on edge
- Decreased interest in usual activities (e.g., work, school, friends, hobbies)
- Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or thinking; brain fog
- Tiredness or low-energy
- Changes in appetite, food cravings, overeating, or binge eating
- Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) or insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, bloating or weight gain
Contrary to common misconception, PMDD is not PMS. While PMS is more common among women and symptoms are more easily controlled and treated, PMDD symptoms are present during luteal phase of a woman’s cycle mildly to severely affecting women’s lives.
PMDD can be successfully treated using psychotherapy, life style changes, naturopathic care, and a OB/GYN who is knowledgeable and trained in PMDD.