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
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),
- 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.