Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe extension of premenstrual syndrome characterized by extreme mood-related symptoms in the week leading up to one’s menstrual period.

About Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Many people experience mood swings and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) for a week or more before their period begins. In premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), these symptoms are much more intense and can seriously impact your quality of life. The exact cause of PMDD is unknown, but genetics, stress, and the way your nervous system responds to hormonal fluctuations are all thought to play some role.

Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PMS and PMDD have many overlapping symptoms. To be diagnosed with PMDD, you must have at least one severe mood-related symptom in the days leading up to your period.

Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Difficulty focusing or performing daily activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Low energy
  • Panic attacks

Risk Factors for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

PMDD affects roughly 2% of reproductive-aged women. Certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing the condition.

Risk factors for premenstrual dysphoric disorder may include:

  • Comorbid conditions: Many people with PMDD have also been diagnosed with anxiety or depression.

Treating Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

The most common treatment for PMDD is a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). PMDD can also be treated by suppressing ovulation, which is usually accomplished using oral contraceptives. Your provider will work with you to determine the best course of action.

Care Team Approach

At UT Health Austin, we take a multidisciplinary approach to your care. This means you will benefit from the expertise of multiple specialists across a variety of disciplines caring for you in one place to avoid having to schedule multiple appointments with providers at locations all over the city. Your care team may include women’s reproductive mental health specialists, psychiatrists, pharmacists, social workers, and more who work together to help you get back to the things in your life that matter most to you.

We collaborate with our colleagues at the Dell Medical School and The University of Texas at Austin to utilize the latest research, diagnostic, and treatment techniques, allowing us to identify new therapies to improve treatment outcomes. We are committed to communicating and coordinating your care with referring physicians and other partners in the community to ensure that we are providing you with comprehensive, whole-person care.

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