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

Approximately 85% of women who menstruate report changes in the days or weeks before their menstruation that cause problems that affect their normal lives. This is known as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). Approximately 2-10% of women report having severe symptoms that affect their everyday lives. This is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

What are PMS symptoms?

  • Behavioral symptoms: fatigue, insomniadizziness, changes in sexual interest, food cravings, or overeating
  • Psychological symptoms: irritability, anger, depressed mood, crying and sadness, anxiety, tension, mood swings, lack of concentration, confusion, forgetfulness, restlessness, loneliness, decreased self-esteem, tension
  • Physical symptoms: headaches, breast tenderness and swelling, back pain, abdominal pain and bloating, weight gain, swelling of extremities, water retention, nausea, muscle, and joint pain

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

  • Behavioral symptoms: decreased interest in usual activities (e.g. work, school, friends, hobbies), sleeping too much or too little, tiring easily and lack of energy, change in appetite, overeating, or specific food cravings
  • Psychological symptoms: depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness or self-deprecating thoughts, anxiety, tension or feelings of being keyed up or on edge, suddenly feeling sad or tearful or increased sensitivity to rejection, persistent anger or irritability or increased interpersonal conflicts, difficulty in concentrating, a sense of being overwhelmed or out of control
  • Physical symptoms: breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of bloating, or weight gain

What should I do if my symptoms are interfering with daily activities?

Keep a premenstrual symptom syndrome daily diary for 2-3 months. Then consult with your doctor, and he or she will make the correct diagnosis.

How are PMS and PMDD treated?

The treatment varies; some options might be: making changes in your lifestyle, taking dietary supplements, and/or taking prescription drugs. You should consult with your doctor to determine which treatment is best for you.

Want to Know More?

Compiled using information from the following sources:
American Academy of Family Physicians,
Danforth’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Ninth Ed. Scott, James R., et al, Ch. 36.