Understanding & Coping With Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): A Guide

Understanding Coping

and Overview of Health Issues

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a disorder that afflicts many women during their premenstrual period. It is a hormonal and psychological disorder that can be particularly disruptive to women’s lives and often difficult to manage. It is estimated that up to 8 percent of reproductive-age women suffer from PMDD, which amounts to millions of people around the world. Understanding PMDD is the first step in understanding how to cope with PMDD and developing strategies to manage symptoms and improve women’s overall physical and mental health.

What is PMDD?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a variant of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that involves severe mood shifts and irritability prior to a menstrual cycle. PMDD symptoms often include depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms such as bloating and tender breasts. It can affect any woman who experiences a normal menstrual cycle and can have a profound impact on her life, her ability to perform daily activities and her relationships.

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Risk Factors

There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing PMDD, such as:

  • Genetic predisposition: A family history of PMDD appears to be a risk factor.
  • Age: The risk of developing PMDD increases in the late 20s and early 30s.
  • Lack of physical activity: Regular exercise can reduce the severity of symptoms.
  • Smoking and alcohol abuse: Substance abuse may exacerbate PMDD symptoms.
  • Psychological health: Anxiety and depression can increase the risk of developing PMDD.

Diagnosis & Treatment

PMDD can be difficult to diagnose, as many of its symptoms are similar to those of other conditions such as anxiety and depression. A diagnosis of PMDD will typically be made based on a physical examination and a comprehensive medical history. Blood tests or imaging may be ordered to rule out other potential causes.

Treatments for PMDD vary from one individual to another, but typically include lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques, and medications. It is important to note that medications can be effective in managing symptoms, but are not a cure for the disorder. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an appropriate treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s needs and preferences.

Coping With PMDD

It can be difficult to cope with PMDD, but there are a number of strategies that can help. These include:

  • Get enough sleep: Make sure to get enough sleep each night to help manage stress and mood swings.
  • Exercise regularly: Regular exercise can help to reduce stress and improve mood.
  • Avoid triggers: Identify and avoid activities and environments that can trigger PMDD symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy diet: A balanced diet can help to reduce physical and psychological symptoms.
  • Seek support: Talking to friends and family, or a mental health professional, can help to manage the emotional aspects of PMDD.


PMDD can be an incredibly disruptive, and often debilitating, disorder. It is essential to understand PMDD and to develop effective strategies to manage the symptoms. For many women, the symptoms can be managed with lifestyle modifications, stress management techniques and medications. It is important to work closely with your healthcare provider to develop an appropriate treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs and preferences. With the right treatment, it is possible to live a full and productive life despite the presence of PMDD.

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