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What’s premenstrual dysphoric disorder? Here’s everything you need to know!

PMS Symptoms © Shutterstock

PMDD is a more severe form of PMS and it can affect your mood, and cause extreme sadness, anger, breast tenderness and bloating.

Written by Sudhakar Jha |Published : August 19, 2018 11:12 AM IST

While PMS gets a bad reputation, there is one other menstrual condition that's worse for women's health. On one hand, 85 per cent of women are affected by Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS that affects 3 to 8 per cent of menstruating women. In PMDD, women experience distressed mood and behavioural changes in the premenstrual phase of their menstrual cycle. It's a new disorder that's still being researched, and that's why the information too about the syndrome is limited.


In a 2017 study done by the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Mental Health, Behavioral Endocrinology Branch, it was attributed that PMDD is a kind of dysregulation in gene activity. The findings showed that women with PMDD were more sensitive to the effects of sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, due to a molecular mechanism in their genes. The researchers found out that turning off estrogen and progesterone eliminated PMDD symptoms, while reintroducing the hormones triggered the re-emergence of the symptoms.

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Some of the common symptoms of PMDD include bad mood, anxiety, irritability, decreased interest in usual activities, lack of energy, less appetite and disrupted sleep pattern as well as physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, headache and joint or muscle pain. The symptoms start one or two weeks before the menstrual cycle at ovulation and end at the start of menstruation. It has also been noted that mental health conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and attention deficit disorder can all worsen during this period.


Antidepressants that slow the reuptake of serotonin provide effective treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). These drugs are known to alleviate PMDD more quickly than depression. Hormone therapies are additional options but are mostly considered as the second line of treatment. Some dietary and lifestyle changes may also help relieve symptoms. However, in extreme cases, removal of the uterus and ovaries through surgery is taken into consideration.

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