Meet Dr. Donnica Video Introduction TV Appearances

Diseases & Conditions Today on DrDonnica.com Clinical Trials Decisionnaires FAQs Top Tips Fast Facts Debunking Myths News Alerts Celebrity Speak Out Guest Experts Women's Health Champions Books Women's Health Resources

Mission Privacy Policy Sponsors Press Room What's New? Contact Us

This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.


Hope Award

Send to a Friend

Dealing with PMDD

Q: How Can We Handle PMDD?

Our family has been dealing with what I believe is my daughter's PMDD.  She has gone to a doctor who told her she would just have to deal with her problem and gave her no help at all.

She is a lovely person 2 1/2 weeks out of the month; the rest of the month we do not want to be around her.  She has been divorced twice because of her temper and outbursts during her period.  She has two daughters who love her very much but their lives have been difficult because of her problem.  I am her mother and my mother acted the same way one week out of the month.  It was difficult dealing with my mother and is very difficult dealing with my daughter.   When she has her period and one week before, she is very defensive and ready to fight.

I truly believe she has more than mild PMS. And I also believe her problem is related directly to her period.  She truly cannot handle it, but she says she can and her doctor said there is nothing to do about it. She has lost a lot of her life and many friends.  What can we do?

--SJ; Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Donnica:
This is certainly a challenging situation, and I sympathize with your situation and your daughter's.  Unfortunately, she did not get the help she desperately needs from her physician.  I strongly recommend that she consult a gynecologist to discuss her treatment options because there are several treatment approaches combining medical and psychological treatments, as well as exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle changes.  If your daughter insists on "handling it" on her own, the only thing you can do is to provide love and support. . .and information.

From your description, it sounds as though your daughter has PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric dysfunction, a severe form of PMS. PMDD stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It is the acronym for the more severe form of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome). Like PMS, PMDD occurs the week before the onset of menstruation and disappears a few days after. PMDD is characterized by severe monthly mood swings and physical symptoms that interfere with everyday life, especially a woman's relationships with her family and friends. PMDD symptoms go far beyond what are considered manageable or normal premenstrual symptoms.

PMDD is a combination of symptoms that may include irritability, depressed mood, anxiety, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, angry outbursts, breast tenderness and bloating. The diagnostic criteria emphasize symptoms of depressed mood, anxiety, mood swings or irritability. The condition affects up to one in 20 American women who have regular menstrual periods.

We have a lot of information on DrDonnica.com about PMS and PMDD.  You may want to print it out for your daughter, or direct her to the following locations on our site:

  • For the difference between PMS and PMDD, click here.
  • For a complete feature article about PMS & PMDD, including diagnosis and treatment options, click here.
  • For Dr. Donnica's Tips on PMS management, click here.
  • For Dr. Donnica's Decisionnaire on PMS, a checklist of symptoms for your daughter to realize she has this condition (and to bring with her to her gynecologist), click here.
  • For the Guest Expert column on PMDD by Dr. Jean Endicott, click here.
  • For more information about depression or other mental health issues, click here.

Created: 2/14/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

All the content contained herein is copyrighted pursuant to federal law. Duplication or use without
the express written permission of DrDonnica.com subjects the violator to both civil & criminal penalties.
Copyright © 2006 DrDonnica.com. All rights reserved.

Home | Today on DrDonnica.com | Meet Dr. Donnica | TV Appearances | Clinical Trials
Diseases & Conditions | Decisionnaires | Celebrity Speak Out | Guest Experts | Women's Health Champions
FAQs | Women’s Health Resources | Archive | Books & Tapes | Site Certification | Advanced Search
Mission | What’s New? | Press Room | Privacy Policy | Sponsors | Partners | Contact Us