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PMS vs PMDD: What's the Difference?

Updated: Jan 11, 2023

Did you know that 1 in every 20 women in the United States has severe PMS? These women deal with premenstrual syndrome or PMS, a set of symptoms common during the luteal phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. However, a subset of women suffers from an extreme form of PMS known as PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) which can cause suicidal tendencies, hormonal changes, and physical problems such as bloating and cramps.


So If you are suffering from PMS every month maybe it is PMDD and you are not aware of it. Let's find out the differences.


pms vs pmdd

What is premenstrual syndrome?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a range of physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience in the days leading up to their menstrual period. PMS is thought to be caused by hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, but the exact cause is not fully understood.


PMS is not a disease and does not pose any serious health risks, but it can be uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life for some women. PMS symptoms usually resolve after the start of the menstrual period.


What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that is characterized by intense physical and emotional symptoms that can significantly disrupt daily life. PMDD affects around 5% of reproductive-aged women and is diagnosed when PMS symptoms are severe enough to interfere with work, social activities, or relationships.


pms vs pmdd

How do I know if Ive got PMDD?

If you are asking yourself If you have PMDD here is how to find out:

PMDD is a serious condition that can affect your life in a major way. If you're experiencing symptoms of PMDD, it's important to talk to your doctor about what treatment options are available.


The best way to know if you have PMDD is by talking with your doctor and having them perform an evaluation. They'll be able to determine whether or not you have the condition and discuss treatment options with you if necessary.


Symptoms of PMDD and PMS

If you're having some symptoms of PMDD or PMS, here are some of the most common ones. I want to remind you that it's not just a feeling. It's a condition. There is help available, so if you're experiencing these scenarios, please don't hesitate to seek help.


pms symptoms

PMDD symptoms

Common PMDD symptoms include mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, breast tenderness, and physical symptoms such as bloating and abdominal cramps.


These symptoms may be severe enough to interfere with your daily activities and relationships. PMDD symptoms typically begin a week or two before your period and go away within a few days after your period starts.


PMS symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a group of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman's menstrual period. These symptoms may include bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability, mood swings, and difficulty sleeping. Some women may also experience acne flare-ups, food cravings, and changes in appetite or weight. PMS symptoms can range from mild to severe and can affect a woman's daily life.


depression

Depression with PMS

While many women experience some mild symptoms of PMS, some women may experience more severe symptoms, including depression. PMS depression can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms such as feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and irritability.


It is important for women who are experiencing PMS depression to speak with a healthcare provider, as there are treatment options available that can help manage these symptoms. It is also important for women to practice self-care during this time, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.


Do you need to use an anti-depressant for PMS and PMDD?

The treatment of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the impact they have on a woman's daily life. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a healthy diet may be sufficient to manage mild PMS symptoms.


However, for women with more severe symptoms, medication may be necessary.

Antidepressants are one type of medication that may be used to treat PMS or PMDD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly used antidepressants for PMS and PMDD. These medications work by increasing the levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is involved in mood regulation.


How can you tell the difference between PMS and PMDD?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe and disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The main difference between PMS and PMDD is the severity and impact of the symptoms. While PMS may cause physical and emotional discomfort, PMDD can significantly interfere with a woman's daily life and relationships.


To be diagnosed with PMDD, a woman must experience at least five symptoms in the week leading up to her period, and the symptoms must resolve within a few days after the period starts. In addition, the symptoms must be severe enough to interfere with work, school, or social activities.


Differences in severity

It is important to note that PMS and PMDD are not the same things. While PMS is a common experience for many women, PMDD is a rarer and more severe form of PMS that requires medical attention. If you think you may have PMDD, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.


relieving pms symptoms

Relieving PMS and PMDD Symptoms

There are a number of ways to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Some people find relief through lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep.


Reducing stress through activities like meditation, yoga, or therapy can also be helpful. Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help with physical symptoms like cramps and headaches.


Some people find relief through herbal remedies such as chaste berries or evening primrose oil. Hormonal birth control, such as the pill or a patch, can also help regulate hormone levels and reduce PMS and PMDD symptoms. It is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.


Causes of PMDD and PMS: A Summary

The exact cause of PMDD and PMS is not fully understood, but they are thought to be related to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. PMDD and PMS symptoms are often related to fluctuations in levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.


Other factors that may contribute to PMDD and PMS include genetics, brain chemistry, and life stressors. It is important to note that PMDD and PMS are not caused by emotional weakness or a lack of self-control, and they are not the result of a mental health condition.


pmdd symptoms

When to see a doctor for a diagnosis

If you experience PMS symptoms that significantly interfere with your daily life, it is important to see a healthcare provider. These symptoms may include severe mood swings, irritability, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and fatigue.


It is important to talk to a healthcare provider if you experience these symptoms, as they may be able to recommend treatment options to help manage your symptoms.


Additionally, if you have a history of depression or anxiety, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider about your symptoms, as PMDD can worsen these conditions. A healthcare provider can help you determine the best course of treatment for your specific situation.


Is there a PMDD test?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is characterized by a number of physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the days leading up to a woman's menstrual period. These symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with daily life.


There is no specific PMDD testing, but a healthcare provider can diagnose the condition based on a woman's symptoms and the timing of her menstrual cycle. To diagnose PMDD, a healthcare provider may ask a woman to keep a record of her symptoms for several menstrual cycles and may also conduct a physical exam and order laboratory tests to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms.


It is important for women who are experiencing severe PMS or PMDD symptoms to speak with a healthcare provider, as there are treatment options available that can help manage these symptoms.


Which is worse PMS or PMDD?

PMS is not a good thing to have, but it's not as bad as PMDD. PMS is just premenstrual syndrome, which means that you're feeling crummy for about two weeks each month before your period starts. That can be a little bit of a drag, but it's not terrible—you can still go to work and get stuff done.


PMDD, on the other hand? That's premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It's a lot more severe than PMS and has some pretty serious symptoms like depression and anxiety that are way worse than what you might experience during PMS. If you have PMDD and you're feeling this way every month (not just at random times), it could seriously affect your quality of life and make it really hard to get through your days.


pms vs pmdd

Do you want to learn how to deal with PMS?

For some of us, it's not just a phase. The pain and discomfort can be very real. Many women don't seek help because they are embarrassed to talk about their cramps or bleeding issues. Don't suffer in silence! Check out our blog on how to deal with PMS symptoms.

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