Difference Between PMDD and PMS

Main Difference – PMDD vs PMS

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) are two gynecological conditions experienced by women. It is important to identify the difference between PMDD and PMS correctly for the purpose of making an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Even though both PMDD and PMS disturb physical, emotional and social aspects of life, PMDD has been identified as the severe form of PMS. This difference in severity is the main difference between PMDD and PMS.

Here, we will discuss,

1. What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) – Signs and Symptoms, Cause, Treatment Methods

2. What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment Methods

3. Difference Between PMDD and PMS

Difference Between PMDD and PMS - PMDD vs PMS Comparison Summary

What is PMDD?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, known as PMDD, is a severe type of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which has similar symptoms to PMS, but these symptoms are severe enough to interfere with an individual’s day to day activities and the quality of life.

Experienced by 2-10% of women who are menstruating, PMDD has a strong genetic predisposition and known to be precipitated by a positive family history. Even though the exact cause of PMDD has not been identified yet, certain hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle and serotonin levels of the brain (a chemical which coordinates mood, sleep, attention and sleep in the brain) are found to be playing major roles in causing this condition.

Women, affected by PMDD usually indicate mood swings, hopeless feelings, increased anger, tension, anxiety, increased interpersonal conflicts, irritability, decreased interest in entertainment, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, loss of appetite or increased appetite, sleep disturbances, bloated feeling, breast tenderness, headaches and joint or muscle pains.

A complete history and a thorough physical examination carried out by a gynaecologist will help to exclude psychiatric conditions like depression, panic disorder and gynaecological conditions like fibroids and endometriosis which also have similar symptoms. Furthermore, the diagnosis of PMDD is made when at least five of the above-mentioned symptoms (including at least 1 of the first four) are experienced for most of the time during a week before menstruation and disappear within a few days after the beginning of the menstrual period. It is important to know that if the symptoms do not disappear this way after menstruation, it is highly unlikely to be PMDD.

As far as the methods of treatment for PMDD is concerned, lifestyle modifications like reduction of weight, regular exercises, nutrition-rich diet, avoidance of caffeine, smoking and alcohol, limited consumption of salt and increased consumption of food containing calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin E are known to help in reducing the symptoms.

Severe symptoms of PMDD can be treated with medications such as anti-depressants and painkillers. The 3 major Anti-depressants recommended by FDA for the treatment of PMDD include Sarafem, Paxil CR, and Zoloft which can either be taken intermittently for 14 days (only during pre-menstrual days) or used continuously. Pain-killers like Ibuprofen and Aspirin can also be used according to medical advice, in case of patients with breast tenderness, backache or headache.

Moreover, Ovulation can be halted either by medical or surgical interventions including birth control pills, Danazol and Lupron, and patients who fail to respond this therapy will be treated by Progesterone or Estrogen.

Main Difference - PMDD vs PMS

What is PMS?

Also known as Pre-menstrual syndrome, PMS is defined as a collection of signs and symptoms (mood changes and physical) which are associated with hormonal changes taking place during menstruation, particularly in the second half of the menstrual cycle and are severe enough to interfere with day to day activities, but in a less severe manner than that of PMDD.

Even though the exact etiology of PMS is not clear, a positive family history, genetics, poor intake of nutrients like Magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B, stress and increased use of caffeine are thought to be playing important roles.

Common signs and symptoms of PMS include bloated feeling, swollen or tender breasts, lack of energy, headache, cramping, lower back pain, anxiety, irritability, excessive feelings of anger, poor concentration and withdrawal from social interactions.

In addition to lifestyle modifications like regular exercises, consumption of a nutrition-rich diet and avoidance of caffeine and nicotine, severe symptoms can be treated with medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Low-estrogen birth control pills.

Difference Between PMDD and PMS

Difference Between PMDD and PMS

Name Description

PMDD: PMDD is short for Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

PMS: PMS is short for Pre-menstrual syndrome.

Signs and Symptoms

PMDD: Mood swings, hopeless feelings, increased anger, tension, anxiety, increased interpersonal conflicts, irritability, decreased interest in entertainment, difficulty in concentrating, fatigue, loss of appetite or increased appetite, sleep disturbances, bloated feeling, breast tenderness, headaches and joint or muscle pains.

PMS: Bloated feeling, swollen or tender breasts, lack of energy, headache, cramping, lower back pain, anxiety, irritability, excessive feelings of anger, poor concentration and withdrawal from social interactions.

Though very similar, signs and symptoms of PMDD are more severe than PMS.

Cause

PMDD: Positive family history, hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle and serotonin levels of the brain are thought to play a major role.

PMS: Positive family history, genetics, poor intake of nutrients like Magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B, stress and increased use of caffeine are thought to play important roles.

Treatment Methods

PMDD: Treatments include lifestyle modifications and medical therapy as well as stress management, anger control and relaxation techniques.

PMS: Treatments include lifestyle modifications and medical therapy such as painkillers and anti-depressants.

Image Courtesy:

“Deadly Listeria Food Poisoning: Who are at Risk?” by   via

“Migraine” By Sasha Wolff from Grand Rapids – Can’t Concentrate: 14/365,  via

About the Author: Embogama

Embogama is a passionate freelance writer for several years. Her areas of interest include general medicine, clinical medicine, health and fitness, Ayurveda medicine, psychology, counseling and piano music


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