The psychiatrists and therapists at Women’s Behavioral Health Specialists help women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) manage the emotional and behavioral effects of these conditions.
Treatment for PMS and PMDD depends upon the type and severity of your symptoms and may include a combination of lifestyle or behavioral changes and medication management. Your doctor may ask you to track the start and end of your symptoms for a few months to help them decide on the best treatment for you.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend:
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of symptoms that affect many women in the two weeks before their period. Symptoms are usually mild, but some women experience severe symptoms that prevent them from performing normal daily activities, such as attending work or school.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes-disabling condition with a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms. PMDD is considered an extreme form of PMS. Although PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can be disruptive to your everyday life.
There is no lab test to diagnose PMDD, and the cause is unknown. Studies have shown a relationship between PMDD and low levels of serotonin, a chemical in your brain associated with mood, attention, sleep, and pain. Monthly hormonal changes may cause a decrease in serotonin which can worsen PMDD symptoms.
Women with PMDD also may experience an abnormal reaction to the hormonal changes that are associated with menstruation. This reaction may cause symptoms of underlying depression and anxiety to worsen.
Symptoms of PMS usually occur a week or two before your period starts and range from mild to severe. Physical symptoms of PMS may include:
Emotional symptoms of PMS may include:
PMDD can dramatically affect every aspect of your life, including your work, school, social life, and your relationships. PMDD symptoms usually begin seven to 10 days before your period starts and continue for the first few days. Physical symptoms of PMDD may include:
Emotional symptoms of PMDD may include:
PMDD affects between 3 percent and 8 percent of menstruating women, while 75 percent of women experience some physical and/or emotional symptoms of PMS. Women with a family history of PMS or PMDD, or a personal or family history of other mood disorders, may be at a higher risk of developing PMS or PMDD.
For some women, there are lifestyle changes that may help relieve some of their PMS or PMDD symptoms. Eating healthy, exercising, and learning to cope with stress can help you manage or reduce your PMS and PMDD symptoms.
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