Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects women during the second half of their menstrual cycle. Symptoms of PMDD can be both physical and psychological and can range from mild to extreme. PMDD is a cyclical disorder, meaning it has a distinct pattern of recurrence during the menstrual cycle. Symptoms typically start 7-10 days before a woman’s period and end shortly after her period begins. Some of the most common symptoms of PMDD are mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, bloating, breast tenderness, sleep problems, and headaches. Treatments for PMDD include lifestyle changes, medications, and psychological therapies.


  • Physical Symptoms: PMDD can cause physical symptoms such as cramping, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, acne flare-ups, joint pain, and fatigue.

  • Psychological Symptoms: PMDD can cause psychological symptoms such as depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in activities, feelings of hopelessness, changes in appetite, and sleeping more or less than usual.


There is no clear answer as to what causes premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), but there are several factors that are thought to contribute. These include:
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Research suggests that fluctuating levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone may play a role in causing PMDD.

  • Brain Chemistry: Studies have shown that people with PMDD may have chemical imbalances in their brain that affect their moods and emotions.

  • Stress: Stressful life events, increased workloads, and problems in relationships can all act as triggers and worsen the symptoms of PMDD.

  • Genetics: Genetics may be involved in PMDD, as some women have a family history of the disorder.

  • Environment and Lifestyle Factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, lack of sleep, unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking, and poor diet can also contribute to PMDD.


Treatments for PMDD includes Managing Symptoms and Improving Quality of Life.

  • Hormonal Treatment: Hormonal treatment is one of the most common treatments for PMDD. This may include taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy to regulate hormones and reduce the severity of symptoms. 

  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy can help PMDD sufferers better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help individuals understand and manage their symptoms while also helping them to develop better coping skills. 

  • Medication: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed medications for PMDD. They work by increasing serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood. Other medications such as antianxiety medications and antipsychotics may be used to help manage symptoms as well.

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Making some lifestyle changes can also help to improve PMDD symptoms. This may include avoiding alcohol and caffeine, getting regular exercise, practicing yoga or meditation, and eating a healthy balanced diet. 

  • Herbal Remedies: Some women use a variety of herbal remedies to help manage their PMDD symptoms. These remedies may include St. John's Wort, chasteberry, and evening primrose oil. However, it’s best to check with a doctor before using any.


  • Symptoms: Doctors will look for a significant emotional and physical change in a woman's behaviour during the weeks leading up to her period. Common symptoms may include depression, irritability, extreme mood swings, and physical changes such as bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches.

  • Diagnosis: Doctors will typically ask the patient to keep a daily diary of her symptoms for at least two months. This will help the doctor determine if there is a pattern in her behaviour and physical changes that is linked to her menstrual cycle. A physical exam and blood tests may also be necessary to rule out other potential medical problems.