Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition that affects women during the menstrual cycle. PMDD is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD symptoms include mood swings, irritability, and depression. PMDD can also cause tension headaches, bloating, and breast tenderness. PMDD usually occurs in women who have a history of depression or anxiety.
Why is PMDD important?
PMDD can be debilitating for some women. The symptoms of PMDD can interfere with work, school, and relationships. PMDD is a recognized medical condition, which means that it has been listed the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). PMDD is the only menstrual disorder that is listed in the DSM-5.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
The symptoms of PMDD can vary from woman to woman. However, there are some common symptoms that include mood swings, irritability, and depression. Other symptoms can include tension headaches, bloating, and breast tenderness.
When should I consult a gynecologist about PMDD?
If you are experiencing severe mood swings, irritability, or depression during your menstrual cycle, you should consult a gynecologist about PMDD. You should also consult a gynecologist if you are having trouble functioning at work, school, or in your relationships because of PMDD. PMDD can create a severe problem for some women, so it is important to consult with a gynecologist if you are having PMDD symptoms.
Checklist of PMDD Symptoms
- Severe mood swings
- Tension headaches
- Bloating or puffiness of your face or hands
- Swollen or tender breasts
- Backaches/stiffness or muscle aches
- Altered interest in sex (decreased)
- Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
- Trouble concentrating (brain fog)
- Fatigue, sluggishness, and lack of energy
When you go to see your gynecologist, make sure that you write out a list of questions for her. This should help you figure out if you might have PMDD and keep track of how your treatments are going. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Do I have PMDD?
- What can I do to treat PMDD?
- Can PMDD interfere with my life and work?
- How long will PMDD symptoms last after menstruation starts?
- Will PMDD symptoms return in the next menstrual cycle if I don't take steps to manage PMDD now? (follow up question) What should I do to manage PMDD so it doesn't return each month during my menstrual cycle?
If you are diagnosed with PMDD, there are a few things that you can do to manage your symptoms. Some of these include
- Taking medication prescribed by your gynecologist, which may include antidepressants
- Managing PMDD symptoms by exercising daily and practicing stress management techniques like yoga or meditation
- Changing your diet to help PMDD symptoms (avoid caffeine, alcohol, high sugar foods)
- Using PMDD tracking tools to keep track of PMDD symptoms (apps like Premenstrual Companion)
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