Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) - Experience

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What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can be considered a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Both PMS and PMDD are characterized by unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms that occur in the second half of a woman's menstrual cycle, most commonly in the days preceding the menstrual period. Physical symptoms such as bloatiung, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint pain; food cravings, mood swings or frequent crying, panic attacks, fatigue, mood changes, irritability, and trouble focusing are among the most common symptoms, yet other symptomslike anxiety and trouble sleeping have been reported. PMS symptoms may be troubling and unpleasant. PMDD may cause severe, debilitating symptoms that interfere with a woman's ability to function.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates that at least 85 ercent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom as part of their monthly cycle. PMS is much more common than PMDD. You must have 5 or more of the symptoms listed above to be diagnosed with PMDD.

Biologic, psychological, environmental, and social factors all seem to play a part in PMDD. It is important to note that PMDD is not the fault of the woman suffering from it or the result of a "weak" or unstable personality. It is also not something that is "all in the woman' head." Rather, PMDD is a medical illness that impacts only 3% to 8% of women. Fortunately, it can be treated by a health care professional with behavioral and pharmaceutical options.

PMDD has been previously medically referred to as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder.

Return to Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Justme, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 19

During my PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) I have the most difficult time! Tearing up over nothing, weight gain, over sleeping and irritability are just a few of the things I experienced. A couple of days after my period starts everything changes back and I feel like myself again! It's been tough on all of my family. So much so they keep up with my periods to gauge when it's okay to be around me. That changed once my doctor prescribed citalopram 10 mg. So though I hate the fact I take medicines, I do feel more like myself during the days leading up to my cycle.

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Comment from: CiCi, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 23

I have dealt with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) for 15 years. I went to countless doctors, internists, obstetrician/gynecologists (too many to count), gastroenterologists, endocrinologists. That is when I learned what practicing medicine meant. They really didn't know what it was. Trial and error. Let's try this medicine and then we will try this. I lived it and still have trouble explaining it and people look at you like 'Oh you had PMS?' No! I lost so many jobs, I cannot tell you. You can get away with saying you have a stomach bug the first time even though they don't understand it lasting a week. But, when you have it again the next month they usually say this isn't working out. Very debilitating nausea, pain, fatigue like I had never had and have never experienced since, and sharp shooting pain. I have never had a baby but, I cannot imagine it being any worse pain. It felt like a knife being shoved up my bottom. I lost my home due to foreclosure. After I went through menopause I had something close to those feelings, but not totally debilitating a couple of times. Then none since, thank goodness. To know most likely you would be experiencing the same thing a month later, not only the symptoms but disrupting your life and your job. I would not wish that on my worst enemy. So, so hard to deal with. I would start on a medication and maybe not get sick for 2 months, sometimes 3, then boom, it is back. Three to eight percent of women get this! I wish more people knew about it because so many people think you are a hypochondriac or nuts. This is actually a recognized disorder in the AMA (American Medical Association) as a disability. You can get SSDI (social security disability insurance) for this now.

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