PMS Vs. PMDD: What is the difference between the two?

Updated on Apr 10, 2020 02:56 PM IST  |  1M
PMS Vs. PMDD: What is the difference between the two?

Do you feel extremely sad, irritated and paranoid during your PMS? Then, it might not be Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), but is known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a group of physical and emotional symptoms that start to show up one or two weeks before periods. It’s quite similar to PMS, but it has severe emotional symptoms. If you are also facing this issue, then it should be treated with the consultation of a gynaecologist.

Here's everything you need to know about PMDD


Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):

PMDD comes with a bunch of physical and emotional symptoms.

Emotional symptoms are as follows:

1. Anger.
2. Sadness.
3. Paranoia.
4. Irritation.
5. Panicking.
6. Suicidal thoughts.

Physical symptoms are as follows:

1. Back pain.
2. Nausea.
3. Headache.
4. Acne.
5. Painful periods.
6. Bloating.

The emotional symptoms affect one’s life like their relationship, friendship, work life and so on. Once a woman starts with her periods then these symptoms go away and come back again in the next ovulation.

Causes of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):

PMDD occurs due to the vigorous changing of estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. These changes have a great impact on serotonin levels which play a major role in our mood. During PMDD, people tend to get more sensitive towards everything. But medical researchers are still trying to bring out the actual cause of PMDD.

Diagnosis for PMDD:

There is no specific test to diagnose PMDD. However, if you are going through any of these issues, then consult your doctor. The causes of PMDD symptoms are as follows:
1. Chronic fatigue.
2. Fibroids.
3. Hormonal problems.
4. Severe depression.
5. Menopause.
6. Migraine.

Talk to your doctor properly about the symptoms like when they are exactly start, for how long they stay, etc. You can also use a period tracking application to check on these symptoms.

Treatment of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):

PMDD doesn’t have any special treatment to cure the symptoms. But you can try these things to lower the impact of the symptoms on your mental and physical health. However, you will also have to consult a doctor.

1. Try to make changes in your food habits and eat healthy. Include nuts, fish and chicken in your diet plan.

2. Do some mild exercises to feel fresh and energised.

3. Do not stay awake till late in the night.

4. Have your meals earlier.

5. You can also do meditation.

6. Do not get stressed out at all.

Other medications for PMDD:

1. Antidepressant tablets: These tablets may reduce emotional symptoms. They increase the serotonin levels in our brain. So, your doctor may prescribe them.

2. Birth control pills: These pills may help some women to cope up with their PMDD symptoms.

3. Nutritional supplements: Consuming nutritional supplements like calcium tablets, Vitamin B-6 tablets, Magnesium tablets may reduce emotional symptoms. But do consult your doctor before taking them.

4. Herbal remedy: Chasteberry is considered to reduce mood swings, swelling, cramps, etc. But medical consultation is recommended for this.

Therapy for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:

Since emotional symptoms are more severe in PMDD, so consulting a therapist may help you to manage this overwhelming situation. For PMDD, you can go for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). You will get to learn new behaviour and thought patterns in CBT to deal with the difficult situations while you suffer from PMDD. This helps you with new tools to manage your extreme mood swings.

Foods to have during PMDD:

Specific foods can help you to stay calm during these heavy emotional changes. You can also try these food habits in your PMS.
1. Drink lots of water.
2. Eat fruits and veggies, especially leafy greens.
3. Reduce salt intake.
4. Eat low-fat dairy products.

5. Increase the intake of complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, potatoes, lentils, pumpkins, etc.
6. Eat whole grains.
7. Cut down on alcohol consumption.
8. Limit your caffeine intake.

9. Eat iron-rich foods like fish, lean meat, eggs.


It’s not at all easy to deal with these painful emotional changes along with the physical ones. This does not happen only once. The symptoms will come up every time after you will ovulate. So, they can create a serious health issue in future if not treated well at this moment. So, stop ignoring your emotional symptoms calling them mild PMS before periods. Ask your doctor for immediate help to get over with PMDD.