Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are two conditions that can affect people in the days leading up to their periods. While both PMS and PMDD share some common symptoms, they are distinct conditions with different levels of severity.
You probably have heard of PMS before. PMS is a common condition that affects up to 90% of menstruating individuals. Its when you have physical and emotional symptoms that occur in the days leading up to your period. Common symptoms of PMS are bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability, and mood swings.
PMDD, on the other hand, is a more severe form of premenstrual syndrome that affects around 3-8% of menstruating individuals. It is characterized by really intense emotional symptoms that can significantly impact daily life. The common symptoms of PMDD are depression, anxiety, irritability, anger, and mood swings.
As you can see, the main difference between PMS and PMDD is the severity and impact of the symptoms. While PMS symptoms can be uncomfortable, they typically do not significantly impact daily life. PMDD, on the other hand, can be debilitating and affect daily activities such as work, school, and relationships.
Diagnosing PMDD requires meeting certain criteria, such as experiencing at least five emotional symptoms that interfere with daily life during the week before a period. Treatment for PMDD may include medication, therapy, or lifestyle changes.
Managing PMS and PMDD symptoms can involve a combination of lifestyle changes and medical treatment. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction can help alleviate symptoms. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, can also help with physical symptoms. Hormonal birth control or antidepressant medication may be recommended for more severe cases.
It's important to note that experiencing PMS or PMDD symptoms does not mean that a person is weak or overreacting. These conditions are very real and can significantly impact your daily life. Seeking support from healthcare professionals, loved ones, or support groups can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.