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What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and affects up to 10 percent of menstruating women. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is distinguished from PMS by the severity of its symptoms and its impact on relationships and daily activities.
There is evidence that a brain chemical called serotonin plays a role in a severe form of PMS, called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include:

    * Feelings of sadness or despair, or possibly suicidal thoughts
    * Feelings of tension or anxiety
    * Panic attacks
    * Mood swings, crying
    * Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
    * Disinterest in daily activities and relationships
    * Trouble thinking or focusing
    * Tiredness or low energy
    * Food cravings or binge eating
    * Having trouble sleeping
    * Feeling out of control
    * Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

You must have five or more of these symptoms to be diagnosed with PMDD. Symptoms occur during the week before your period and go away after bleeding starts.

Making some lifestyle changes may help ease PMDD symptoms.

Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) that change serotonin levels in the brain have also been shown to help some women with PMDD.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for the treatment of PMDD:

    * Sertraline (Zoloft®)
    * Fluoxetine (Sarafem®)
    * Paroxetine HCI (Paxil CR®)

Individual counseling, group counseling, and stress management may also help relieve symptoms.

This answer is based on source information from the National Women's Health Information Center
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a type of depression affecting a small percentage of menstruating women. It is a cyclical condition in which women may feel depressed and irritable for one or two weeks before their menstrual period each month. Another form of depression occurring in women and related to reproduction is Postpartum Depression. This form of depression occurs within approximately one week to six months after giving birth to a child.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.