Could Your PMS Be Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?

Published December 8, 2020 by

Could your PMS be Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD? Let’s find out how they differ, how they are similar, and what you can do about it.

What Is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?

You may not have heard about PMDD, but it is an extreme version of PMS, or premenstrual syndrome.

Typical PMS affects approximately 75% of women, and it usually begins two weeks before your cycle and ends when you begin to bleed. You may have depression, mood swings, tender breasts, bloating, and sometimes diarrhea. As women get older, these symptoms may vary.

PMDD affects only approximately 1.8% to about 6% of women. This is a chronic condition and can seriously affect a woman’s quality of life. Although many of the symptoms are similar, with PMDD the degree is different.

PMDD will usually have one or more of these serious issues:

sad woman laying in bed

  • Irritability and anger
  • Sadness or hopelessness or even thoughts of suicide
  • Severe mood swings or feeling out of control
  • Anxiety and tension about even the smallest things

When your symptoms are so severe that you can’t perform normal activities at home or at work, and especially if it affects the way you relate to those around you, it could be PMDD.

Causes Of PMDD

No one knows exactly what causes a woman to develop PMDD. Underlying depression and anxiety are involved in both PMS and PMDD, and perhaps hormonal changes worsen these underlying disorders.

The important next step is determining if you may be suffering with PMDD, and then talking with Perfectly Female to set up a plan for managing the symptoms.

Managing PMDD

There are a number of therapies and treatments to manage the symptoms of PMDD.


Antidepressants are a useful tool to minimize symptoms of PMDD. They can reduce the emotional symptoms, fatigue, and sleep problems associated with this disorder.

Birth Control Pills

Taking birth control pills without a pill-free interval or shortened pill-free interval can help with symptoms.


Supplements like calcium, Vitamin B-6, magnesium and L-tryptophan may be helpful.


Talk with your physician before taking herbs.

Diet And Lifestyle Changes

Both of these can help along with regular exercise to reduce or minimize PMDD symptoms. In addition, cut back on caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.

Contact Perfectly Female if you suspect you may be experiencing symptoms of PMDD.

To schedule an appointment, please call our Reston office at (703) 796-0200, our Ashburn office at (703) 726-9000, or request an appointment online.