What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? Or PMDD? 

PMDD is considered a chronic illness that is affected by hormone cycles. Originally, PMDD had been termed a “mental illness”. However, it’s now looked at as a severe sensitivity to normal hormone levels produced by the body during the luteal phase (which is considered 10 to 14 days after ovulation up to the start of the menstruation cycle).  

Similar to PMDD, is Premenstrual Exacerbation Disorder - Or PME. 

PME is considered to mirror PMDD with the exception that the person already has a pre-existing mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression. These symptoms worsen in severity during the luteal phase. 

PMDD/PME VS PMS – What’s the Difference?

Premenstrual syndrome or PMS usually lasts approximately 3-5 days prior to the start of menstruation; along with symptoms - overall - being manageable without interrupting daily life.

PMDD can start as soon as ovulation (up to 14 days prior to the start of menstruation), with symptoms severe enough to interrupt activities of daily life. 

Approximately 1 out of 20 FAB (Female Assigned at Birth) suffer with PMDD/PME. On average, it can take up to 12 years for a proper diagnosis. A common misdiagnosis of PMDD/PME is bipolar disorder, due to the cycle of symptoms. 

5 common symptoms of PMDD/PME (symptoms prominent in the luteal phase)

  1. Increased sensitivity to rejection
  2. Mood Swings 
  3. Irritability or anger
  4. Feelings of being overwhelmed or out of control
  5. Intense feelings of anxiety and or depression 

If this blog spoke to you or someone you know, you’re not alone and talking to a therapist can help. Registered Counselling Therapist, Nadine Hutchison here at Wholetherapy has special interest and clinical experience in working with perinatal mood disorders like PMDD and PME. 

Book an appointment for individual therapy with Nadine here, or if you’re interested in registering for a group therapy session in the fall focused on this topic email us at info@wholetherapy.ca

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