Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Learn about premenstrual syndrome, PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD, causes, symptoms, treatment

Approximately 75 to 85 percent of women experience some degree of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) related to their menstrual period. The most severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), affects 3 to 8 percent of women.

PMS involves the emotional and physical symptoms that typically occur in the week leading up to a woman’s menstrual period.

PMS symptoms usually end a few days after the period begins. They include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Decreased coordination
  • Diminished libido (sex drive)
  • Fluid retention
  • Food cravings
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Hot flashes
  • Neurological and vascular symptoms
  • Painful menstruation
  • Psychological symptoms

PMDD is a debilitating condition marked by a depressed mood and increased anxiety. Women who have PMDD primarily have emotional symptoms, especially difficulty in relationships.

Diagnosis and next steps

 Your health care provider may consider recommending a psychiatric evaluation to rule out other possible conditions. In addition, he or she may ask that you keep a journal or diary of your symptoms for several months to better assess the timing, severity, onset and duration of your symptoms.

Treatment for PMS and PMDD includes:

  • Counseling
  • Diet modification
  • Hormone therapy
  • Medication
  • Oral contraceptives