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What is PMDD?

PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, is a condition that affects around 5.5% of women and AFAB individuals of reproductive age. PMDD causes severe emotional symptoms, like depression, anxiety, mood swings, anger, or even thoughts of no longer wanting to exist.

The formal diagnostic criterion is listed below:

  • Irritability, anger, or increased interpersonal conflict

  • Mood/emotional changes (e.g. mood swings, feeling suddenly sad or tearful, or increased sensitivity to rejection)

  • Depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, feeling worthless or guilty

  • Anxiety, tension, or feelings of being keyed up or on edge

  • Decreased interest in usual activities (e.g., work, school, friends, hobbies)

  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing, or thinking; brain fog

  • Tiredness or low-energy

  • Changes in appetite, food cravings, overeating, or binge eating

  • Hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) or insomnia (trouble falling or staying asleep)

  • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

  • Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, bloating or weight gain

*A diagnosis of PMDD requires the presence of at least five of these symptoms, one of which must be a "core emotional symptom" (one of the first four symptoms listed in bold).

These symptoms ONLY happen 1-2 weeks before their menstrual period starts. This causes disorientation for individuals with PMDD because symptoms can present like a severe mood disorder, but they are only present in that premenstrual window. This ebb and flow can cause tremendous confusion and disorientation within one’s own body. Typically after the period begins an individual feels relief. If a client suspects a diagnosis of PMDD they can explore mood tracking throughout their cycle to allow for exploration of how their cycle impacts mood disturbance. We love this great tool from our friends at The International Society for Premenstral Disorders.

Did you recently discovered PMDD? Are you eager to learn more about your experience and how it relates to PMDD? We’d love to set up a consultation to help you on your journey! Discovering PMDD often follows confusion, periods of living with its symptoms undiagnosed and overwhelm in the medical system. While identifying and naming your experiences can bring relief, it can also be daunting to figure out where to begin.

Sign up today for a free 15 minute consultation to start today to understanding your body’s holistic needs.

*The information provided herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as a diagnosis or medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or mental health concern. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this platform or any other informational resource. Reliance on any information provided here is solely at your own risk. The content provided is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, a therapist-client relationship. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized advice tailored to your individual circumstances.


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