PMS vs. PMDD: The critical difference

Studies have shown that up to 75% of menstruating women have mild PMS symptoms, but only 3-8% of women face PMDD. Also known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, PMDD prevents you from going about your normal life by exhibiting extreme symptoms that significantly impact your physical, emotional, and mental health.

Symptoms

Both PMS and PMDD can have symptoms such as bloating, mood changes, sore breasts, headaches and more. However, PMDD symptoms are usually much more severe and can take a higher toll on your health. For example, you may have severe mood swings, and instead of light depression, deeper depression that might result in hopelessness or suicidal thoughts. Instead of light anxiety, those with PMDD may deal with heavy anxiety for longer periods of time.

Causes

While the cause of both of these conditions is relatively unknown, those that have depression or have a family history of depression are more likely to suffer from PMDD rather than just PMS.

It is important to recognize the difference between the two conditions in order to understand what the best process for treatment is. Oftentimes, PMS symptoms can be eased through lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, exercise, and stress relief. But if you have PMDD, your doctor may prescribe medicine to help combat your symptoms.

Commonly prescribed medicine includes SSRI antidepressants which helps the body absorb serotonin more easily. As always, please consult your doctor before making any decisions in order to do what is best for your health.

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