Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndreom (PMS). A brain chemical called serotonin may play a role in causing PMDD

The main symptoms of PMDD, which can be disabling, include:

  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings or frequent crying
  • Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Trouble thinking or focusing
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

You must have 5 or more of these symptoms to be diagnosed with PMDD. Symptoms occur during the week before your period and go away after bleeding starts.

Making some lifestyle changes may help ease PMDD symptoms.

Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have also been shown to help some women with PMDD. These drugs change serotonin levels in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 3 SSRIs for the treatment of PMDD:

  • Sertraline (SUHR-truh-leen) (Zoloft)
  • Fluoxetine (floo-AYK-suh-teen) (Sarafem)
  • Paroxetine (puh-ROCK-suh-teen) HCI (Paxil CR)

Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) is the only birth control pill approved by the FDA to treat PMDD. Individual counseling, group counseling, and stress management may also help relieve symptoms.


Reference: Office on Women's Health

Last updated: February 20, 2017

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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