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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,
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.