Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment


Menstruation is neither a disease nor a malfunction. It is a normal physiology of human body. Every month an egg is released in female body, when this egg meets sperm, there is fertilization and implantation, thus making the female pregnant. If the female doesn’t become pregnant then, the egg and other tissue are secreted out of our body through vagina. This is known as menstruation. It repeats every 28 days. Hence it is known as menstruation cycle. Thus as we can see menstruation is a required for reproduction. Still we live in a society where menstruation is considered as a taboo subject. In some or the other way, girls are mocked when they are in periods and when they complain about problems caused by them. Premenstrual syndrome is considered as a joke by the society and an excuse by girls. But it is really unfair for those females who actually suffer from premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Guide for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder can be considered as a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. Both of them are characterised by unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms, which restrict the daily activity in the days preceding menstruation period. Premenstrual syndrome is more common and manageable than premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Premenstrual syndrome is managed with a dose of non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and other conventional methods. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder on the other hand cannot be managed without proper medical care. Hence these disorders should not be taken casually.


The causes of these premenstrual disorders are not yet completely found. But they are found to be associated with the hormones and neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in the body which transmit signals from brain to body. They are responsible for the changes in mood. Hormones which play a role in menstrual cycle are oestrogen, progesterone and luteinizing hormones. It is found that these hormones act with neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to cause psychological and physical effects. Thus irregular menstruation is the greatest risk factor for these disorders. Obesity, stress, malnourishments, steroidal intake etc are associated with irregular menstruation and thus menstrual and premenstrual disorders.



Symptoms of premenstrual disorders can be divided as physical or psychological. These symptoms make the individual incapable of maintaining their daily activities. Atleast 2 physical and 1 psychological symptom at severe level should be present in the individual for 5 or more months to be classified as premenstrual dysphoric disorder. These are the following symptoms which can be experienced.


Abdominal bloating– it means swelling of abdomen with gas. Stomach becomes swollen and cause discomfort. Some pain may also be associated with it. PMDD involves severe abdominal bloating, associated with pain.

Breast tenderness– normally also during period or before some days of period you may experience breast tenderness. Breast becomes more sensitive, reddish and swollen. Pain also increases.

Headache– migraine like headache may be experienced in this period. The difference is that the migraine headache is triggered by various factors like light, sound or increase in stress. While in PMDD the head ache starts some days before menstruation and stops after it. It is important to tract symptoms, in order to diagnose it early.


Join pain– people may experience joint pain before menstruation. There is discomfort in doing any activity. The joints mainly involved are knee joint, lumbar join (back ache), and shoulder joint.

Heavy bleeding– PMDD might be associated with heavy bleeding during menstruation. Heavy bleeding has its own complications. It just adds up to these disorders.

Acne– it is most common problem which is associated with menstruation. Most of teens are dealing with it. Acne in the starting age is absolutely normal. but too many acne in later age may be a symptom

Hot flushes– hot flushes means a sudden feverish feeling. It happens during menopause. But it may be experienced some days before menstruation.



Anxiety– sudden increase in heart beat, feeling of restlessness, shaking of body is known as anxiety.

Depression– loss of interest in daily normal activities which affect the daily work is known as depression.

Mood swings– sudden changes in mood without any reason and affecting the daily normal activities are mood swings. Mostly there are negative mood swings. It means depression, frequent crying and sadness.

Insomnia or hypersomnia– sometimes the woman may be devoid of sleep for long period, or may experience excessive sleepiness. Both in an abnormal quantity are a matter of concern.


Oversensitivity– woman may feel vulnerable to many emotions. She may start feeling depressed, irritated and angry for small reasons. This happens due to the hormones interacting with neurotransmitters.

Food cravings– many women may experience craving for sugar loaded products during periods or some days before periods. It is normal, but some may crave for unusual products in an abnormal quantity, this is a matter of consideration.

Suicidal tendencies– if you feel anything as such it is a medical emergency. Please contact your doctor and your trusted person as soon as possible.

These symptoms may be present in other disorders also, it is important to tract this symptoms so that we can relate it with periods. And hence these diseases can be diagnosed early



These diseases should not be taken casually at all. When the symptoms incapacitate the individual from doing their daily activities, it is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Any of these symptoms when present for more than 5 months can be classified as pre menstrual dysphoric disorder. These symptoms appear before the period. It feels like there is a bad phase and then everything comes back to normal. You should immediately consult to doctor if you experience any of these symptoms and that makes you completely incapacitated to do daily activities. The gravity of the disease should not be underestimated. The mild discomfort or cramps during periods are absolutely normal. Do not stress yourself over them, but do not even ignore serious symptoms.


Premenstrual syndrome is normally managed with non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, but to manage premenstrual dystrophic disorder those are not enough. As in this disorder, severe psychological problems are involved. Treatment mainly includes

Counselling– counselling is a great way to decrease stress. It helps the person to cope up with psychological disorder. One should not be at all embarrassed about any mental conditions they suffer from. They are same as physical disease. Do take proper help from a professional person.

Antidepressants– doctors may prescribe antidepressants for depression.


Oral contraceptives– oral contraceptives contain hormones they help to maintain the hormonal balance in the body. And thus helping to cope with the hormonal imbalance in the body.


Exercise– exercise keeps the metabolism of the body in check. It also reduces the stress in the body. Every person should have atleast a moderate working lifestyle. Sedentary lifestyle is becoming the greatest demon of the new world

Stress management– in the 21st century, not even teenagers are spared from stress. It is very necessary that we find a way to have a stress free life. Maintaining a hobby is a great way to do that.

Monitoring of period– period is an indicator of many diseases. Also tracking of period and symptoms help to diagnose disease associated with period early.


Maintaining menstrual hygiene– maintaining menstrual hygiene is very important. It is the greatest prevention for many diseases.

Educating people– through internet we are surrounded with information all the time. We Google every symptom we go through, it may add up to unnecessary worry and stress. Hence while obtaining any information, make sure you get it from a trusted source.

“Those days; bad days; days in which they sit out; bleeding days; impure days; periods etc.” menstruation is known by various names, various taboo are associated with it. But we need to overcome those. And instead of seeing them as a disability we should accept it as a part of our life, it makes the women stronger and tolerant. These disorders neither should be ignored nor should be used casually. The people who actually suffer from them know the real pain. Hence try to keep yourself updated about them, from a trusted source and pass on the correct information. It will help us to tackle and even prevent these problems. After all no one gives you power, you have to take it and help others have it!

Hope this article was of help to you! Please share your comments/queries/tips with us and help us create a world full of Happy, Healthy and Empowered Women!!