Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, also known as PMDD, is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Women with PMDD experience severe hormonal imbalances leading to frequent and more drastic mood swings, along with significantly worsened physiological symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Women with a family history of PMDD or increasingly difficult PMS are at a higher risk of developing PMDD, along with women who have a family history of mood disorders.

While PMDD may appear as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) to others and some symptoms of each condition are similar in nature, those associated with PMDD are much more severe and debilitating than those of PMS. It can be difficult to distinguish what symptoms are typical of PMS, however. This makes talking to others important.

If you do not know any other women experiencing symptoms as extreme and debilitating as yours are, it will be helpful to speak to a doctor. Doctors can identify which symptoms are typical of a monthly cycle and which require further intervention.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Verywell / Brianna Gilmartin

Frequent Symptoms

Symptoms of PMDD include muscle spasms, changes in appetite, changes in libido (sex drive), fluid retention, allergies, abdominal and pelvic pain, acne, breast fullness and pain, temporary weight gain, and painful menstruation.

In addition, someone with PMDD may experience vision impairments, headaches, vertigo, and even heart palpitations. Severe fatigue, insomnia, and a range of psychological impairments such as depression, anxiety, irritability, paranoia, and anger are also symptomatic of PMDD.

One may have impaired memory and concentration as well as impaired coordination, infections, increased sensitivity to extremities, and frequent bruising.

Rare Symptoms

While many symptoms associated with PMDD have a primary or secondary connection to hormonal imbalances, this can prove life-threatening in severe cases. Symptoms such as infections can lead to respiratory failure and loss of limbs in extreme cases if not treated immediately and properly. Severe heart palpitations can cause a myocardial infarction or a heart attack. Vision changes, severe changes in sensation, and impaired coordination all pose safety risks.

Such risks of PMDD symptoms are especially of concern in those with impaired mobility and others who are already at risk for falls due to other medical conditions.

Mood changes and instability can be even more unstable and distressing in those diagnosed with a mood disorder or other psychiatric condition.

Sub-Group Indications

Those with a pre-existing mood disorder should seek medical advice for managing potential mood changes associated with PMDD. Concerns related specifically to mood disorders can be brought to a gynecologist and psychiatrist to effectively monitor both conditions.

Women who are pregnant should ask their doctors what the impact of these hormonal imbalances could be on their pregnancy. The absence of a menstrual cycle during the gestational period may temporarily lessen or eliminate symptoms of PMDD. However, a doctor should be consulted to ensure lifestyle continues to support a healthy balance of hormone levels.

Women who are severely overweight may experience an increase in symptoms related to mobility, such as impaired coordination and heart palpitations. These, along with others, should be closely monitored by a doctor.

When to See a Doctor or Go to the Hospital

Extreme cases of symptoms such as mood changes, heart palpitations, changes in sensation, and infection should be addressed immediately by a doctor. This will prevent further complications related to PMDD and keep hormone levels at an appropriate balance.

Treatment-related issues should also be immediately brought to the attention of a doctor.

These include issues with vitamin supplements, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or other anti-inflammatory medications, birth control pills, and drastic changes in diet.

A Word From Verywell

Treatment of PMDD typically includes stress management and lifestyle changes, as these are important factors in any hormonal condition. The medications mentioned above may also be indicated for more specific symptoms of PMDD. However, the most powerful recommendation is often a well-rounded lifestyle with good health education and maintenance of PMDD and all related health conditions. Being advised by a doctor or other integrative health professional is the best way to keep PMDD under control and minimize the impact it has on your life’s activities.

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Article Sources
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