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PMDD is short for ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder’ and is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (otherwise known as PMS). It is an often misunderstood condition however much like PMS, PMDD follows a predictable, cyclical pattern in tune with your hormones. Symptoms begin in the second half of the menstrual cycle (after ovulation) and end shortly after menstruation begins.

The Difference Between PMDD and PMS

Whilst PMS is largely defined by physical issues, PMDD is diagnosed by its severe mental health implications. Those who suffer from PMDD can become very distressed and the emotional symptoms can be extreme and volatile. With these fluctuations, mood swings may change from one day to the next, and this can lead to severe anxiety to the person suffering as well as their family, friends or colleagues, disrupting interpersonal relationships and leading to major distress.

What Are The Symptoms of PMDD?

As well as the severe mood swings associated with PMDD symptoms can include:

  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings or frequent crying
  • Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Trouble thinking or focusing
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
  • Physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches and joint or muscle pain.

How Do We Treat PMDD?

Before treatment of PMDD anyone who thinks they may be suffering from this condition should seek proper medical advice. Full evaluation includes looking at your symptoms, history and situation, taking a comprehensive medical and menstrual history. Along with this, thorough blood tests are done and it is important that these are taken during an episode of the cyclical symptoms mentioned above. This helps create a proper understanding of what is happening to your hormone levels when symptoms are most evident. If a hormone deficiency is diagnosed, treatment will be prescribed to help correct the imbalance.