Do You Have PMS or PMDD?

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Just about every woman knows what PMS or premenstrual syndrome is. The majority of women who are in childbearing years with a period, get the typical symptoms. This might mean irritability, cramps, bloating, or tender breasts. While the symptoms can vary, if you get your period, you probably have experienced PMS symptoms.

However, if you feel like your symptoms are much more severe, you might actually have a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD. Here is more information about that condition with some comparisons between these two conditions so you know which one you are more likely dealing with.

What is PMS?

The more common condition is PMS or premenstrual syndrome. This is what many women experience shortly before their period, and often several days into their period. PMS comes in many forms and can include mood changes, physical changes, and even mental changes. 

PMS is the result of your hormone levels changing when you get close to your period and might include acne, irritability, increased appetite or cravings, fatigue, and bloating.

What is PMDD?

Less common is PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. This is a more severe type of disorder that takes PMS symptoms and multiplies them. Instead of general malaise or irritability, you might become extremely moody and angry, depressed, have severe anxiety, and have a lot more physical pain than what you experience with PMS.

It is important to note that if you feel like your PMS symptoms are more severe than normal or have suddenly gotten worse, you talk to your doctor about the possibility of PMDD. While PMS is normal and will come and go, PMDD can be very difficult to live with.

Comparing These Disorders

Here are some things to consider when deciding if you have PMS or if it might have developed into the more severe PMDD. 

Both start around the same time – One thing that is similar is that both PMS and PMDD symptoms usually start around the same time of the month. It is often about a week before your period starts and continues through the first 2-3 days after your period starts.

Both have similar physical symptoms – The physical aspect of both PMS and PMDD are often similar. You get bloating, cramps, breast tenderness, and fatigue. You will just notice that they are considerably more severe in the case of PMDD.

PMDD has more emotional symptoms – While PMS does accompany some irritability and moodiness, PMDD shows some severe emotional changes, such as worsened anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, depression, and considerable anger.

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