PMDD: Are you experiencing extreme PMS symptoms before your period?

In the United States, three out of four women report experiencing symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) before their monthly period. These symptoms can range from physical to emotional including cramping, irritability, headaches, etc. Some women also experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, but these can be very mild.

Other women however, experience much greater symptoms especially regarding the emotional aspect of PMS such as extreme mood swings similar to depression, anxiety, or paranoia. Their regular PMS symptoms may exhibit in a stronger fashion than other women they know and can cause a lot of relational or personal issues during the days their symptoms occur. These symptoms are often difficult to handle and can make a woman feel that they are out of control. Most who experience this extreme version of PMS actually have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which is a more recent disorder to be recognized in the psychology world.

PMDD occurs in an estimated 1 out of 20 women in America. It often arises a week before a women’s period, which is a big longer than regular PMS. The symptoms experienced impact daily life and can prevent women from doing what they love or need to do. PMDD can also negatively impact relationships because of the impulsive and irritative nature of the symptoms. Women with PMDD may live completely symptom free until the week before their period, but oftentimes it can coincide with other mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. If there is an increase in the symptoms of those disorders the week before the period, it may be indicative of having PMDD.

If any of these descriptions sound like you, you may want to reach out to a mental health professional or doctor to discuss your symptoms and see what treatment options may be for you. Many women with PMDD rely on medication such as antidepressants or birth control with drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol to help stabilize hormones that increase during the PMDD/PMS cycle. PMDD can also be managed by learning stress management and anxiety relief techniques. For more information on stress management and anxiety relief, make sure to check out some of our previous blog posts which give more detailed instruction!

Written by Emma, 2021 Undergraduate Intern

If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this and are in the Chicago area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois.


Could you have PMDD? (2018, March 16). Womenshealth.Gov.

PMS relief. (2018, March 16). Womenshealth.Gov.

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