Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a common ailment that affects up to 75% of women who have regular menstrual cycles. In comparison, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS that affects 5-8% of women. Symptoms of both PMS and PMDD manifest in both behavioral and physical states. Symptoms of PMS cause functional impairment and severe distress that occurs within five days before the onset of menses and persists for three or more menstrual cycles.

Symptoms of PMS and PMDD

PMS is more common than PMDD. A PMDD diagnosis happens when PMS symptoms are severe enough to stop you from doing normal daily activities. With PMDD, your symptoms may cause you to miss work, negatively affect how you relate and respond to family members, or remain bedridden in some extreme cases.

Symptoms Include:

  • Irritability

  • Tension

  • Depressed mood

  • Tearfulness

  • Mood swings

  • Breast tenderness

  • Bloating

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue

  • Insomnia

  • Muscle aches

  • Joint Pain

  • Pelvic pain

  • Panic Attacks

With similar symptoms, what is the difference between PMS and PMDD?

PMDD causes extreme symptoms of anxiety and depression. While PMS can cause anxiety and depression, women with PMDD may also experience thoughts of suicide or suffer from panic attacks around the time of their menses. PMDD symptoms can start as early as ten days before menses and typically last longer than PMS symptoms.

When should you seek mental help for PMS and PMDD?

If your PMS or PMDD symptoms negatively impact your quality of life, it is time to seek help. While it is true that many women suffer from their symptoms in silence, speaking up and seeking help is a sign of strength and will lead you toward a path of living healthier. If you feel like you need assistance, you deserve to get the mental help you need to control and correct your symptoms.

PMDD will not simply go away on its own. The symptoms may occur with each cycle until you hit menopause, at which point they may become highly unbearable. You deserve to live your life to the fullest, no matter what time of the month it may be. It is imperative to seek the help of a licensed medical professional if you are suffering from panic attacks or having thoughts of suicide.

Who should you talk to about your PMS and PMDD-related symptoms?

With River, you can talk to a doctor and mental health professional about your PMS and PMDD-related symptoms to rule out any other illnesses and help you create a treatment plan that may include over-the-counter or prescription medication.

Explore a River membership here

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