premenstrual dysphoric disorder

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Related to premenstrual dysphoric disorder: premenstrual syndrome

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder



Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a collection of physical and emotional symptoms that occurs 5 to 11 days before a woman's period begins, and goes away once menstruation starts. The most severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is PMDD.


PMS is estimated to affect 70-90% of childbearing age. The more severe form of the disorder, PMDD, affects 3-5% of women of childbearing age. Up to 40% of women have PMDD symptoms that are so severe they interfere with their daily activities. It is more common in women in their late 20s and early 40s, who have at least one child and a history of depression, anxiety/tension, affective lability, or irritability/anger.

Causes and symptoms

Although the actual cause of PMDD is not known, it is believed to be related to hormonal changes that occur before menstruation. There are more than 150 signs and symptoms attributed to PMDD, and every woman experiences different ones at different times. There seem to be socioeconomic and genetic factors that precipitate PMDD. Twin studies have demonstrated a positive correlation with heritability and PMDD symptoms. Anti-anxiety medications have been shown to help improve symptoms associated with PMDD. The most common symptoms include headache, swelling of ankles, feet, and hands, backache, abdominal cramps, heaviness or pain, bloating and/or gas, muscle spasms, breast tenderness, weight gain, recurrent cold sores, acne, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, food cravings, anxiety or panic, confusion, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness, poor judgment, and depression.


PMDD is diagnosed when symptoms occur during the second half of the menstrual cycle (14 days or more after the first day of a woman's period), are absent for about seven days after the period ends, increase in severity as the cycle progresses, go away when the menstrual flow begins or shortly thereafter, and occur for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. There are no tests to diagnose it. The diagnosis of PMDD emphasizes and requires psychologically important mood symptoms.


Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drug for the treatment of PMDD, Serafem (fluoxetine). Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, may help with bloating and pain; beta-blockers may help with migraines; anti-anxiety medications, such as buspirone or alpraxolam, may help with anxiety; and certain other antidepressants in addition to Serafem may help with depression.

Alternative treatment

Non-pharmaceutical treatments include a variety of lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet, exercise, stress relief therapies, and even such alternative therapies as aromatherapy. Certain vitamins and supplements may also help, such as vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin E. Certain herbs may also help with symptom relief, including vitex, black cohosh, valerian, kava kava, and St. John's wort.


The prognosis varies for each woman, and is largely dependent on how much work she is willing to do in terms of lifestyle changes. Additionally, planning for PMDD symptoms, joining a support group, and communicating with her spouse and family can help minimize the negative effects of PMDD and its impact on a woman's home and work environments.


Some women may find their PMDD disappears periodically. Diet and nutritional supplements can have the greatest impact in preventing PMDD.



Advancement of Women's Health Research. 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 625 Washington, DC 20036. 202-223-8224.
National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome. 7 Swift's Court, High Street, Seal, Kent TN15 0EG UK +44 (0) 1732 760011 〈〉.

Key terms

Antidepressant — A medication used to relieve the symptoms of clinical depression.
Beta blockers — Class of drug, including Corgard (nadolol), and Lanoxin (digoxin), that primarily work by blunting the action of adrenaline, the body's natural fight-or-flight chemical.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — This class of drugs includes aspirin and ibuprofen, and primarily works by interfering with the formation of prostaglandins, enzymes implicated in pain and inflammation.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


preceding menstruation.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder premenstrual syndrome viewed as a psychiatric disorder.
premenstrual syndrome (PMS) the presence of symptoms in the period before menstruation or in the early days of the menstrual period; also called premenstrual tension. Definition and diagnosis depend on the timing and the cyclic nature of symptoms rather than on specific clinical manifestations, which can vary greatly from one patient to another but follow a consistent pattern in the individual from cycle to cycle.

Various psychological and emotional causes of this syndrome have been proposed; only recently has serious attention been paid to it as a physical as well as a psychological phenomenon. Research has shown that onset and increased severity of symptoms often occur when rapid hormonal changes are taking place, e.g., at puberty, after a pregnancy, or when oral contraceptives are discontinued. A transient increase in water retention seems to account for edema, weight gain, bloating, and breast changes. Other etiologic factors may be an estrogen-progesterone imbalance, hypoglycemia, vitamin deficiencies, prostaglandins, and psychogenic disturbances.
Symptoms. Symptoms may begin at the time of ovulation and increase until the menses, or they may appear at ovulation, abate, and then reappear and increase until menses. In some cases they arise only a few days before the onset of menstruation. In true PMS the symptoms cease with the onset of menses or last no more than a few days into the cycle.

Premenstrual syndrome can affect virtually every system of the body and produce behavioral changes that have significant psychosocial impact. Physical symptoms may include headache, vertigo, or paresthesias; common colds, rhinitis, asthma, sinusitis, or sore throat; abdominal bloating, nausea, or food cravings; breast tenderness and engorgement; backache, joint pain, and edema; and others. Psychological or emotional symptoms may include irritability, tiredness with sleep disturbance, mood swings, depression, and altered libido.
Treatment. Successful management of the syndrome is difficult and protocols vary greatly, probably because there is no clear understanding of the causes. Therapies include progesterone therapy, administration of vitamin B6 daily, and curtailment of intake of sodium, methylxanthines (coffee, tea, and chocolate), and nicotine. Additionally, the patient may be advised to restrict the intake of refined sugar, alcohol, and animal fats. Increasing the intake of vegetable oils may be recommended in order to enhance prostaglandin formation.
Patient Care. A major goal of intervention is the promotion of self-care strategies. For example, the patient is encouraged to keep a menstrual calendar to validate cyclic changes and to give her a sense of purposeful management of her life. She may then plan to avoid stressful events during the time symptoms are present. Counseling can help identify sources of stress and effective mechanisms to deal with stressful situations. Sufficient sleep and rest are needed because fatigue tends to exaggerate the symptoms. Moderate exercise can increase the patient's sense of well-being. A nutritious diet is also helpful, especially the inclusion of foods that are natural sources of the B vitamins and magnesium. The intake of sodium, caffeine, and refined sugar should be limited and alcohol and tobacco avoided.

Severe premenstrual symptoms can seriously disrupt vital human relationships, leading to domestic problems including child abuse and other acts of violence. Health care providers will need to be aware of the psychosocial ramifications of premenstrual syndrome and to facilitate positive coping behaviors, make referrals to agencies prepared to deal with these kinds of problems, and provide support and counseling when indicated.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD),

1. a pervasive pattern occurring during the last week of the luteal phase in most menstrual cycles for at least a year and remitting within a few days of the onset of the follicular phase, with some combination of depressed mood, mood lability, marked anxiety, or irritability; various specific physical symptoms; and significant functional impairment; the symptoms are comparable in severity with those seen in a major depressive episode, distinguishing this disorder from the far more common premenstrual syndrome.
See also: premenstrual syndrome.
2. a specified set of criteria in the DSM, proposed for the purpose of futher research.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012

premenstrual dysphoric disorder

A severe form of premenstrual syndrome characterized by affective symptoms, such as mood swings, irritability, depressed mood, and anxiety, that cause significant disturbances in relationships or social adaptation and that cease shortly after the onset of menses.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

premenstrual dysphoric disorder

The official American Psychiatric Association Diagnosis and Statistical Manual, 4th ed. (DSM-IV), term for premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.

premenstrual dysphoric disorder

The official term for PMS–premenstrual syndrome, see there.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pre·men·stru·al dys·phor·ic dis·or·der

(PMDD) (prē-men'strū-ăl dis-fōr'ik dis-ōr'dĕr)
A pervasive pattern occurring during the last week of the luteal phase in most menstrual cycles for at least a year and remitting within a few days of the onset of the follicular phase, with some combination of depressed mood, mood lability, marked anxiety, or irritability; various specific physical symptoms; and significant functional impairment; the symptoms are comparable in severity to those seen in a major depressive episode, distinguishing this disorder from the far more common premenstrual syndrome.
See also: premenstrual syndrome
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

pre·men·stru·al dys·phor·ic dis·or·der

(prē-men'strū-ăl dis-fōr'ik dis-ōr'dĕr)
Pervasive pattern occurring during last week of luteal phase in most menstrual cycles for at least 1 year and remitting within a few days of onset of follicular phase, with some combination of depressed mood, mood lability, marked anxiety, or irritability.
Medical Dictionary for the Dental Professions © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
"FDA approves new indication for YAZ[R] to treat emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder." Berlex.
* Women who have a history of depression are more likely to experience depressive symptoms or be given a diagnosis of MDD, particularly if the earlier episode of depression was associated with a reproductive event, such as postnatal blues, postpartum depression, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Premenstrual dysphoric disorders: a diversified cluster of vulnerability traits to depression.
Fluoxetine versus Vitex agnuscastus extract in the treatment of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Hum Psychopharmacol.
If you are particularly unfortunate, you may have a more severe form of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), in which the emotional symptoms, such as depression, mood swings, anxiety and tension, are particularly serious.
"FDA approves new indication for YAZ to treat emotional and physical symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder." Berlex.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): The syndrome of more severe depression, irritability and tension occurring seven to 14 days prior to the start of the menstrual period is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) (also called late-luteal phase dysphoric disorder).
Exacerbations of both medical illnesses and psychiatric disorders during the premenstrual phase have been widely reported (e.g., Endicott, Halbreich, Schacht, & Nee, 1981; Stein, Schmidt, Rubinow, & Uhde, 1989; Stanton & Gallant, 1995) and are also discussed extensively in the appendix of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (4th ed., revised; American Psychiatric Association, 1994) under the diagnostic category of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD).
Women who take oral contraceptives are less likely to develop multiple sclerosis and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Hippos were in danger of becoming extinct in Congo.
"How is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Treated?"
They cover such topics as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, the effects of hormonal contraception, psychiatric disorders in pregnancy and postpartum, the effects of induced abortion and pregnancy loss and of infertility and infertility treatments, perimenopause and menopause, female-specific cancers, and gender issues in the treatment of mental illness, including those involving substance abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence.
* Applying a label extension (such as expanding indication, e.g., Paxil[R] for obsessive compulsive disorder, Serafem[R] for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Neurontin[R] for diabetic neuropathy)