Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Definition: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder causes physical and emotional symptoms every menstrual cycle in the week or two before your period.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is estimated to impact over 5% of women and AFAB people. It is often referred to as a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms include a range of emotional and physical elements and can have a big impact on an individual’s day-to-day life.
Symptoms of PMDD, as it is a hormonal disorder, can manifest both physically and mentally. People will experience symptoms in different ways and on varying levels of severity. This doesn’t make anyone’s journey anymore or less valid, it’s just important to remember that your own journey is unique to you.
- Anger or irritability
- Feeling on edge, overwhelmed or tense
- Anxiety and/or panic attacks
- Depression, which may include self-harm and/or suicidality
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings
- Aches and pains
- Feeling bloated
People may experience some or all of the above symptoms.
As with any health condition, treatment can vary from person to person. What’s helpful for one may not be helpful for another, however, there are some treatments available that can and do help those struggling with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Treatments include:
- Medication: An individual with PMDD may be prescribed a range of medications, including antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicines, and painkillers.
- Psychotherapy: There are a few different therapies that have been found beneficial for those experiencing PMDD. These include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and talk therapy.
- Medical interventions, such as hormone injections to gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) injections, and in some severe cases, surgery.
It’s best to talk to your health team when looking at treatment options. They can recommend and guide you through what could be the best fit for you and your well-being.
I have a loved one experiencing premenstrual dysphoric disorder, how can I help?
If you have a loved one who is struggling, having an open conversation about how you can best support them can mean the world. For example, asking how you can best support them on their journey and listening to their experiences. Simply being a friend can often be the best thing to do. Maybe even working on a well-being plan with your loved one that may be useful to both of you.
Understanding this condition is also immensely helpful. It can help you and your loved one to better work with what they’re going through. It’s equally important to also remember to take time out for yourself for self-care.
PMDD is a difficult condition, but it’s important for those struggling to know that it can be managed. You can find ways to cope with it and manage it. There is always hope and people who care about you who will support you on your journey.
Resources and Links
- Cleveland Clinic - PMDD
- The PMDD Collective
- The Mighty - PMDD
- Instagram - hermoodmentor
- WebMD - PMDD
- Mind UK - PMDD Friends and Family
Voices of Hope does not offer direct mental health services and our team is not comprised of trained mental health professionals. If you require assistance, we recommend visiting our resources page for helpful information.
If you are in immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, or need advice for someone in your life that is at risk of immediate harm to themselves please contact your local emergency services.