Three out of four women experience some kind of discomfort in the days before their period, be it mild cramping, mood shifts, breast tenderness, achiness, feeling bloated, or that all-too-familiar desire to stuff your face with chocolate.
For most, these symptoms are mild, and/or can be easily alleviated with simple, natural treatments such as changes in diet, exercise, extra rest, and appropriate nutritional supplements.
But for about 3-8% of women of childbearing age, pre-menstrual symptoms become literally incapacitating. The pain and discomfort such a women experiences each and every month can seriously impact her mental health, relationships, self-esteem, and even her career.
What is PMDD?
If your PMS is severe and debilitating, you may not technically be suffering from PMS at all. You may be experiencing the symptoms of PMDD, or pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder.
What is the difference between PMS and PMDD?
That’s a tricky question, because many of the symptoms sound the same on paper: mood changes, cramping, bloating, insomnia, food cravings, and so forth. The difference is a matter of degree.
While a woman with PMS presents with these symptoms on a mild level, a woman suffering from PMDD experiences one or more of them so intensely that they interfere with her ability to have a normal life.
This can include severe and even incapacitating feelings of depression or hopelessness, tension, anxiety, head and body aches, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, severe sleep disturbance, joint pain, hot flashes…you get the picture. Typically, these symptoms start about a week before your cycle and end when your cycle starts.
What to do if you suspect you have PMDD
PMDD won’t go away on its own. It requires treatment. Unfortunately, doctors often don’t appreciate just how severe pre-menstrual symptoms can be. As a result, PMDD is seriously undiagnosed. PMDD is also often misdiagnosed as major depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues.
Many women with PMDD end up assuming they just have to endure days of living hell each month, but nothing could be further than the truth! No woman should have to live this way. PMDD is easily treatable.
The first step is to find out exactly what is going on with your hormones so we can create the appropriate treatment plan to bring you relief. If you think you may be suffering from PMDD, call our Patient Care Concierge right away. She’ll connect you with one of our doctors who can help you out!