What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Females with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) condition exhibit the symptoms of PMS like breast tenderness, headaches, and bloating roundabout a week before their period. PMDD can cause mood changes, depression, and severe anxiety attacks. Today, we’ll discuss what is premenstrual dysphoric disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? 

PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is a severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and it causes tenderness of the breast, headaches, and bloating roundabout 2 weeks before the period. Along with PMS symptoms, the person would experience extreme depression, anxiety, and irritability in PMDD. The symptoms would improve after starting from a few days. But they can disturb your life in severe cases.

According to an estimate, PMDD impacts roundabout 10% of the women in periods. Some of the women are more vulnerable due to following reasons;

  • Mood disorders, PMDD, and family history of PMS
  • PMS
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • 5% of the women of the childbearing age

Symptoms of PMDD 

The symptoms of PMDD start appearing roundabout two weeks before the menstrual period and the symptoms would disappear within a few days or after the periods. Some of the main symptoms of PMDD along with PMS are as follows;

  • Mood swing
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbance
  • Headaches
  • Binge eating and food cravings
  • Lower energy and fatigue
  • Focusing and concentration difficulty
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and anger
  • Out of control feelings

Causes of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder 

Researchers don’t know the exact causes of PMS or PMDD. The lower level of progesterone and estrogen hormones before the menstruation and after the ovulation would trigger some of its symptoms. Serotonin is a brain chemical that controls your mood like sleep and hunger and it plays a significant role in developing its symptoms. However, it is important to mention here that hormonal levels and serotonin levels keep on changing in the menstrual cycle.

Diagnosis of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder 

Your doctor would analyze your various symptoms and check your medical history. It’s important that you should track your symptoms for 2 menstrual cycles. In order to diagnose PMDD, your doctor would check the presence of at least 5 symptoms, especially relevant to the mood. If some other condition is causing it, then your doctor would rule out conditions like reproductive disorder, depression, and anxiety.

Treatment of PMDD 

The treatment plan for PMDD comprises of following strategies;


Antidepressant medicines comprise SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs help you to improve the serotonin level in the brain that manages the mood. However, some of the top three FDA approved SSRIs medicines to treat PMDD are as follows;

  • Paroxetine HCL
  • Fluoxetine
  • Sertraline

Birth Control Pills

Some of the FDA approved medicines that help a person treat the symptoms of PMDD comprise of following elements;

  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Drospirenone

Other Painkillers

Over-the-counter medicines that help a person relieve physical pain like breast tenderness, backaches, headaches, joint pain, and cramps. It comprises of following;

  • Aspirin
  • Naproxen
  • Ibuprofen

Stress Management

The stress management techniques like meditation, physical exercises, and engaging in pleasurable activities would help you to deal with PMDD.

Healthy Lifestyle

If you bring healthy changes in your lifestyle, it would help you to relieve the symptoms of PMDD. Some of them are as follows;

  • Involving yourself in the physical activity like exercises
  • Reducing the diet based on salt and sugar
  • Eating healthy food that comprises healthy food group items

Prevention Tips

If a person is treating the symptoms of anxiety and depression condition, then PMS won’t aggravate and become PMDD. The condition PMDD has relevance to the way how your hormones work, and you can stop it in that case.

When to Call the Doctor 

You should call your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing the following symptoms;

  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Thinking about harming yourself and others
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Severe episode of depression
  • Feelings of losing control over yourself
  • Panic attacks
  • The high episode of anxiety

Questions to Ask Doctor 

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of PMDD, and you happen to visit your healthcare provider, then you should ask the following questions;

  • Why are you experiencing the symptoms of PMDD?
  • What is the most suitable treatment plan for you relevant to your conditions?
  • What are the possible side effects of the medications and the overall treatment?
  • Should you replace your birth control medicines?
  • What type of lifestyle changes you should make in your routine life?
  • Are you at the risk of getting suicidal thoughts or major depressive episodes?
  • What prevention tips you should follow to avoid depression and suicidal thoughts?

Conclusion: What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is premenstrual dysphoric disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we’ve realized that PMDD could badly impact women. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the therapist in your area.