Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a very severe disorder, which can cause many emotional and physical symptoms every month during the week or two before you start your period. While many people who are able to have periods may encounter some mild indications of PMS, if you have PMDD these symptoms are much worse and can have a serious influence on your life. Experiencing PMDD can make it difficult to work, socialize and have healthy relationships. In some cases, it can also lead to suicidal thoughts.


If you have PMDD, you might find that you experience some of the symptoms listed below. But it's different for many people, so you might also undergo other kinds of feelings which aren't listed.

Emotional experiences:

  • mood swings

  • feeling upset or tearful

  • feeling angry or irritable

  • feelings of anxiety

  • feeling hopeless

  • feelings of tension or being on edge

  • difficulty concentrating

  • feeling overwhelmed

  • lack of energy

  • less interest in activities you normally enjoy

  • suicidal thoughts

Physical and behavioral experiences:

  • breast tenderness or swelling

  • pain in your muscles and joints

  • headaches

  • feeling bloated

  • changes in your appetite such as overeating or having specific food cravings

  • Sleeping problems

  • finding it hard to avoid or resolve conflicts with people around you

  • becoming very upset if you feel that others are rejecting you

You will typically only experience these symptoms for a week or two before your period starts and the symptoms follow your menstrual cycle, so you might notice that they start to get better when you get your period and will typically have disappeared by the time your period is finished.


The exact causes are still not fully understood but some possible factors are:

  • Being very sensitive to changes in hormone levels: recent research suggests that PMDD is linked with increased sensitivity to the normal hormonal alterations that occur during your monthly menstrual cycle.

  • Genetics: some research suggests that this increased sensitivity to changes in hormone levels may be caused by genetic variations.

Some other research has shown that in some cases PMDD may be connected to stressful and traumatic past events (such as emotional or physical abuse), but there's no proof to exactly explain how or why.


There are a number of different treatments that have been found to work for some people, but it again varies for every person. Some treatments include:

  • Talking treatments

  • Antidepressants

  • Painkillers/Anti-inflammatory drugs

  • Combined oral contraceptives

  • GnRH analouge injections

  • Surgery


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