Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) vs Regular PMS
The difference between premenstrual dysphoric disorder and good old PMS is simple: it’s all about severity of symptoms. While they effects of PMDD are comparable to regular premenstrual syndrome symptoms, they are often substantially more intense and can drastically affect the quality of life of the afflicted. In order to diagnose your premenstrual dysphoric disorder, your doctor will likely ask you to keep track of your symptoms over a period of time in order to help determine whether or not you’re having typical PMS mood swings, or something more.
Some of the symptoms that are associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder are depressed mood. This would be above and beyond the typical monthly “feeling down and out” associated with the normal monthly female hormone imbalance we all encounter. Depression associated with PMDD is substantially worse and can leave you feeling worthless and extremely sad. In addition, increased anxiety and tension that is unprovoked is another common occurrence.
Physical symptoms are also often reported such as headaches and bloating, along with an increased occurrence of PMS night sweats. These physical symptoms are often more severe, more frequent and longer lasting than those in women who are suffering from the normal symptoms of menses.
Treating PMDD is also very different from its common cousin. With PMS, many women find relief via over the counter medicines, exercise, and natural PMS relief. However, in the case of Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, treatment often includes medications such as fluoxetine and paroxetine, along with stress management and sometimes anger management. It’s important to remember that these treatments are for the benefit of the patient because they symptoms are interfering with her daily activities, not because the condition is physically threatening.
If you think that your PMS is something more, your first step should be a trip to your health care provider. He or she will work with you to analyze your symptoms and make suggestions for home care or possibly discuss medications with you. If you and your physician determine that you have PMDD, don’t despair. Determining that you have it is the first step to treating it, and with support, guidance, and proper medical intervention, you can begin to experience life without the debilitating symptoms of PMDD.