How Do I Know if I Have PMDD?
Q: I've heard that there is a severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) called
PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and I think I might have it. How do I
know for sure?
Dr. Donnica: The only way to know for sure if you have PMDD is to schedule
an appointment with your physician, ideally a psychiatrist familiar with PMDD,
and ask to be evaluated. Your "job" is to get to the appointment and
ask the question; your doctor's job is to make the diagnosis.
PMDD affects 3 to 5 percent of menstruating women in the United States. Sufferers
may experience a range of mood and physical symptoms that appear the week or
two before the onset of menstruation. Generally, these symptoms disappear after
the menses. Symptoms of PMDD are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities
Criteria for Diagnosis
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,
in order to make the diagnosis of PMDD, five or more of the following symptoms
must occur during the week or two before the menstrual period and dissipate
a few days after the onset of the menstrual period (during most menstrual cycles
in the past year):
o Depressed mood
o Mood swings
o Decreased interest in normal activities
o Difficulty concentrating
o Marked change in appetite
o Insomnia or hypersomnia
o Sense of being overwhelmed
o Physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness and bloating
- One or more of these symptoms must be depressed mood, tension, mood swings
- Symptoms must significantly interfere with everyday activities or relationships.
- Symptoms are not an exacerbation of another disorder.
Created: 12/20/2003  - Donnica Moore, M.D.