9 Things To Know About Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Health and Wellness

9 Things Your Gal Pal With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Needs You To Know

If you suffer from PMDD, be extra kind to yourself.


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, more commonly known as PMDD, is a severe form of PMS that includes physical and psychological symptoms that usually resolve within a few days of the onset of a woman's period. Although regular PMS and PMDD have many overlapping symptoms, PMDD causes these symptoms to present in extremes and can disrupt your daily functioning. PMDD typically emerges in a woman's late teens and early twenties, a time which is typically already chaotic enough without a serious form of PMS thrown in.

1. It can be debilitating

While many of the symptoms of PMDD overlap with those of PMS, PMDD leaves you feeling completely debilitated. The symptoms are both psychological and physical, and they affect daily living as well as threaten the sufferer's well being. PMDD can leave you bedridden or feeling like you have completely lost your mind.

2. Only about 5% of women experience symptoms severe enough to classify as PMDD

The symptoms that they suffer also last far longer than normal PMS. Typically, the symptoms begin to show up about 1-2 weeks before your period and then usually they subside within a few days of the onset of your period. This leaves sufferers of PMDD in pain for about half of every month. Because so few women experience this disorder, this is not a lot of research surrounding it which leaves many unanswered questions and a lot of trial and error when it comes to treatment.

3. There are a variety of symptoms associated with PMDD and each case tends to present a unique combination

Physical: severe fatigue, heart palpitations, coordination difficulties, abdominal bloating, nausea, change in appetite, headaches, hot flashes, dizziness, muscle spasms, cramps, easy bruising, backache, joint pain, heightened physical sensitivity

Psychological: irritability, nervousness, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, crying fits, emotional sensitivity, difficulty concentrating, paranoia, forgetfulness, issues with self-image, decreased libido, insomnia, restlessness, apathy towards usually enjoyed activities, suicidal thoughts

4. The specific cause of PMDD is still unknown

There are a few things that tend to be risk factors for women who experience PMDD such as a personal or family history of postpartum depression, mood disorders, depression, or other mental illnesses. However, it is also thought that PMDD could stem from the brain's abnormal response to a woman's fluctuation of normal hormones during her menstrual cycle which could lead to a deficiency in the neurotransmitter Serotonin causing many of the psychological symptoms.

5. PMDD is not diagnosed lightly

Guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) are used to determine if the symptoms constitute PMDD. The symptoms must be present for at least two menstrual cycles, be present a week before the onset of your period, resolve after the start or within a few days of your period, and interfere with normal daily living. You also must present a certain amount of the criteria laid out by the APA. It is only after this that you can be properly diagnosed with PMDD and begin treatment for it.

6. PMDD is very treatable

For the most part, prescription medication is necessary. The symptoms tend to be too severe to treat using over the counter drugs and home remedies, while these can be a helpful supplement, they are not typically a complete solution. In most cases, an SSRI antidepressant (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.), a birth control pill, or a combination of the two may be prescribed in order to combat the symptoms of PMDD. In addition, most doctors will also suggest taking supplements such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D.

7. Certain lifestyle changes can be effective in reducing the severity of PMDD symptoms

While there is not enough scientific research to dictate whether these methods are actually effective, many people have found that yoga and general exercise throughout the month lessened their symptoms. Some people have also said that decreasing the amount of processed sugar, caffeine, and alcohol in their diet, particularly in the days leading up to their period has helped. Traditional home remedies that people use for generic PMS can sometimes alleviate PMDD symptoms as well, such as using a heating pad, taking a hot bath/shower, and taking over the counter pain relievers for muscle aches.

8. Be kind to yourself, especially in the days leading up to your period

A big part of PMDD is feeling isolated and having a suffering body image, so it is really important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself emotionally. Let those around you know what you are going through so that they can be there to support you. Allow yourself time to just do something you enjoy and that relaxes you.

9. If you think you have PMDD, speak up

Talk to your family doctor or your gynecologist or a mental health professional. Tell someone what you are going through so that if it is PMDD you can start treating it, or if it's something else you can get the help you need for that. Don't suffer in silence or assume that it is "just PMS."

PMDD can be debilitating, especially when there is comorbidity between it and another mental health issue. I started out a Friday night a few weeks ago having what I thought was a normal panic attack, which usually subsides and is gone by the next morning. But it only continued to get worse and lasted for about five more days, I was nauseous and had no appetite, I was exhausted and couldn't sleep, my entire body was on high alert. I could not stop crying, I wasn't interested in anything I normally am, death crossed my mind a lot more than I would care to admit, and if I was a weaker person I'm not sure I would have survived it.

I happened to be seeing a psychiatrist for a preexisting mental health issue about 6 days after this episode started. The morning of my appointment, I woke up and realized I had gotten my period and it was like a switch flipped. I still did not feel like myself, but a lot of the symptoms felt duller and less present. When I got to the doctor's office, I explained what had happened. There was no question that what I had was PMDD. My symptoms were severe and debilitating and I'm still scared that they might come back each month, but the monster I was facing now has a name. The worst part about the entire experience was that I thought I was going crazy — I didn't know what was wrong with me and I felt alone. Learning that what I was going through had a medical name and that other people had gone through it validated everything I was feeling and allowed me to feel not so crazy.

Report this Content

10 Etsy Father's Day Gifts Under $40 To Support Your Dad And Small Businesses

Stores may still be closed, but the internet is still wide open. So, while you're already shopping online check out Etsy for your Father's Day needs and support small creators.

As June approaches, Father's Day is coming up quickly with it. While they may not ask for much, it's always a nice gesture to give your dad something special to share your appreciation. Although, at the same time, it might be difficult to find the perfect gift either for their humor or that will be practical.

On a normal occasion, it's simple to find a gift for your father figures in stores, but for the times we're currently in our access has become very limited. Small and independent businesses need help now more than ever, so what better time than now to support them? If you're still stuck on what to give for Father's Day, look to this list for some inspiration that won't hurt your wallet too much.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Helpful, Effective Mental Health Resources Specifically For The Black Community

These organizations are qualified, caring, and acknowledging the mental trauma individuals are experiencing.

On May 25, George Floyd died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer. In the last week, protests have sprung up across the nation, demanding justice for Floyd and accountability for police brutality. Social media has also seen widespread conversation regarding Floyd's death, Black Lives Matter, and racism in the United States. Today is #BlackoutTuesday, where many are sharing a single black square to represent unity and support for Black voices.

In light of the heavy climate that our country is facing, it is a safe assumption that many individuals' mental health may be suffering. We wanted to highlight mental health resources and organizations that are Black-owned and prepared to assist in whatever you're going through.

Keep Reading... Show less

15 Black-Owned Haircare Brands That Cater As Much To Inclusivity As They Do To Your Locks

Championing Black entrepreneurs who make some of our hair favorites.

The haircare industry is vast. With the rise of social media came hundreds of thousands of empowered, niche brands. Single entrepreneurs came out of the woodwork with hair brands that now, years later, have dedicated cult followings.

Of those multitudes of brands, few cater to all hair types, most made without regard for curly or coily hair. These brands, however, are different.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Women Of Color Share How Racism Affects Their Dating Lives, And Everyone Needs To Listen

"My race is typically a factor in almost everything I do, and with dating, it's no different."

Racism affects the daily lives of people of color in the United States, and other parts of the world, in some capacity every day. When it comes to dating and relationships, this is unfortunately no different.

Keep Reading... Show less

13 Movies And Shows On Netflix Directed By Black Men And Women You Need To Watch Now

Take the time right now to watch these fantastic films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.


Netflix is notorious for getting us insanely addicted to watching TV and films. From documentaries, true crime, reality, and fiction, we get very sucked in.

Right now the American people are fighting for the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, so instead of watching "The Office" for the 30th time, take the time to watch these 13 films and TV shows directed by Black men and women.

Keep Reading... Show less

I love working out, it makes me feel great. It helps my mood, sleep schedule and I just feel overall healthier. Recently I wanted to focus more on my glutes than I previously had been. At the gym, I would just go to the squat bar to do my thing and call it a day. But since we have been home in quarantine I feel like squats just aren't doing it for me but even if I love doing them. Doing squats I always have felt does more for banging my thighs than it ever did for my butt. It made them so big, which I didn't mind except I felt it made my butt look pretty much the same. Straying from squats, and the fact that gyms will probably remain closed for a while, sent me on a fitness journey to see what other exercises I could do at home with no or very little equipment needed. Hopefully, these exercises will help keep your booty banging.

1. Diamond Leg Lifts

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Podcasts On Race Everyone Should Listen To In Order To Be A Better Ally

Listen and learn, because knowledge is power.

Podcasts are such an integral part of some of our everyday lives that it can be hard to recall a time at which they didn't exist. Podcasts exist on about every single topic, from dating to celebrity gossip and Harry Potter.

Now more than ever, it's likely you're reeling from the news, and (hopefully) wanting to do something about it in order to educate yourself. Podcasts are one of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information in a conversational, personal way from some of today's top educators, scholars, and theorists.

Keep Reading... Show less

Stop Pitying Me Because I'm Single, I'm Very Happy With My Relationship With Myself

I don't need your opinions on why I'm single and you're not. We are two different people.

I'm so happy for my friends when they get into relationships, but that doesn't mean they get to have control over my love life, and that is what bothers me. For the record, I've been in four relationships, one lasting for three years, so I do understand relationships.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments