Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (also known as PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoria, or Late Luteal Phase Dysphoric Disorder)/ Severe PMS is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder with symptoms arising during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and lasting until the onset of menstrual flow.
It affects an estimated 2-10% of women of reproductive age. While PMDD/Severe PMS is directly connected to a woman’s menstrual cycle, it is not a hormone disorder. It is thought to be a genetic disorder with symptoms often worsening over time and following reproductive events including, ovulation, pregnancy, birth, miscarriage, and menopause. Women with PMDD are at an increased risk for postnatal depression and suicidal behaviour. Many, but not all, women with PMDD have a history of sexual trauma or depression, thus delaying correct diagnosis as often mental health disorders are investigated initially. This can be frustrating for many women out there.
Symptoms of PMDD
- Feelings of sadness or despair, suicidal thoughts.
- Marked tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks, mood swings and frequent crying
- Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tiredness, fatigue, low-energy
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Feeling out of control or overwhelmed.
- Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
These symptoms occur during a week or two before menstruation (the Luteal phase) and go away within a few days after bleeding begins. A diagnosis of PMDD requires the presence of at least five of these symptoms. If these symptoms are present every day and do not improve with menstruation they are unlikely due to PMDD.
PMS…its not the same as PMDD!
If you, like me have heard a relative/friend/health professional say ‘It’s just bad PMS’ then you, like me have probably felt royally p****d off!
As many as 80% of women experience some form of emotional and/or physical discomfort in the second half of their menstrual cycle. This common collection of symptoms is called Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS. Even through PMS and PMDD are related, PMDD is a separate diagnosis and requires different treatment than regular PMS.