Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, also known as PMDD, is often characterised as a severe mood disorder linked to PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). 

The majority of women go through the symptoms of PMS before and during their monthly cycle. PMDD is all about intense physical and emotional changes that occur a week or two before menstruation begins. 

The emotional and psychological symptoms of PMDD are quite more drastic than the ones experienced in PMS. This condition affects millions of women and is a hassle to deal with. If you are someone who has a heavy menstrual cycle and pain that tends to interfere with your daily life, then you might have PMDD. 

Women of childbearing age are most likely to become victims of this condition. It’s a medical and chronic condition that shouldn’t be avoided, requiring proper treatment. In most cases, the irritability and other symptoms fade by the second or third day of the period, but if they don’t, then you might require medical assistance. 

Even though PMS is a serious condition, PMDD is far more concerning. It can interfere with your school, work, and social life. Therefore in this article, we will look at the symptoms, causes, and available treatment plans and learn about PMDD’s connection to PMS. 

Difference between Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and Premenstrual Symptoms

Since both of these conditions are interlinked, there are some similarities that they bore, despite being different. 

In both of these conditions, the following factors are the same, which makes the diagnosis a bit tricky:

  • Symptoms start a week or two before the menstrual cycle begins.
  • Factors such as bloating, breast tenderness, and fatigue overall are evident.  
  • All signs almost fade after day two or three of the monthly cycle. 

Nevertheless, both of them aren’t the same despite striking similarities because, unlike PMS, there are medications available to deal with PMDD’s severity. 

PMDD is a chronic condition that one should look into to fight mental problems such as severe depression, anxiety and stress levels. 

Symptoms of PMDD

PMDD symptoms are usually said to appear a week before the menstruation cycle begins and happen to linger around until the first few days of the cycle. 

These symptoms are said to be acute and draining. That being mentioned, they can also keep one away from their daily activities. They are a mix of emotional and physical; however, the probability of emotional symptoms outweighs the physical ones. 

The following signs or changes in your physical and emotional state potentially point toward PMDD:

  • Exhaustion
  • Crying episodes  
  • Panic attacks
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling out of control
  • Sadness
  • Loss of interest in activities and social life
  • Bloating
  • Anxiety 
  • Appetite changes
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscle pain 
  • Headaches 
  • Suicidal thoughts

These symptoms, especially the emotional ones, are most likely to take a toll on your day to day chores. They seem to get better once your period begins, only to come back the next month you ovulate. 

Causes of PMDD 

Now that we have an overview of the various signs and symptoms that affect women suffering from PMDD let’s discuss what causes this condition to arise and what some of the other underlying issues are. 

As frustrating as it may sound, there is no exact cause of PMDD. Experts and researchers are still trying to figure out the precise reason, but some factors do have a significant role in PMDD’s existence. 

Most doctors believe that the changing hormones that occur during the cycle are most likely to blame for PMDD’s appearance in women. Even though there is no relationship between the hormones and PMDD, the presence of these symptoms around the time of menstruation indicates a hormonal link.


Experts have also claimed that since not all women go through PMDD, there is a high chance that only those who are sensitive to hormonal changes and fluctuations. This level of sensitivity could lead to the development of PMDD. 

How to Diagnosis PMDD?

As of right now, there is no test for PMDD diagnosis. Nevertheless, it would help if you didn’t take that negatively. If your symptoms don’t seem to get under control or are too overwhelming, you should visit a doctor and seek medical attention immediately. 

The doctors will go through your medical history and even schedule a thorough physical exam to assess the overall condition. They will diagnose you with PMDD if you have the following signs evidently: 

  • You have at least five or more five symptoms mentioned in the article. 
  • They begin a week or seven days before your period. 
  • The signs and symptoms fade within the first few days of bleeding. 

So, what are the treatment options?

Without treatment plans, PMDD remains a chronic condition that can primarily affect one’s life. Looking over the bright side, there are some options that you can avail yourself of that will aid your battle with PMDD and regain control over yourself. 

Some of these options are as stated below:

  • Hormone therapy (such as birth control pills) 
  • Antidepressants
  • Stress management
  • Vitamin supplements

Apart from the options mentioned above, you can start by making some lifestyle changes, such as cutting back on caffeine and alcohol. Perform exercise consistently as studies have shown that it can help manage PMS symptoms efficiently. 

In addition, you can opt for CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), also known as talk therapy. Some people might find CBT helpful when it comes to PMDD. Nonetheless, further research still awaits this treatment plan. 


As a woman, it is normal to feel discomfort both emotionally and physically once you’re about to begin your period. 

Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be so severe that you find yourself losing control and experiencing an impact that interferes with your family, work and other social relationships. 

PMDD resolves by itself once you hit menopause and stop getting your periods. Your symptoms might evolve and become less irritating later in some other cases. It is best to keep a consistent track of your symptoms and signs so that you can go for an effective treatment plan.

Remember, you might have to experiment with a few treatment plans before finding what works best. Therefore it would be best to stay patient even while it may be pretty frustrating.


Consider reaching out for medical help if your symptoms aren’t stabilising or seem to get under control. With a proper track of your symptoms, your treatment for PMDD might as well become less concerning and agitating.