Feeling depressed with PMDD (premenstrual mood disorder)? Differences from PMS and how to improve

Do you know PMDD (premenstrual mood disorder)? Many of you may have heard of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) but not PMDD. PMDD is a form of PMS with severe psychological symptoms that make daily life difficult.

In this article, we will introduce how to distinguish between PMS and PMDD and a PMDD checklist. Also, PMDD has many ways to improve. Please make a choice that suits you and take a look at the end so that the symptoms can be alleviated even a little. Find out in this article

  • Definition and Causes of PMDD (Premenstrual Mood Disorder)
  • Difference between PMDD and PMS
  • How to improve PMDD
  • Association between PMDD and depression

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What is PMDD (premenstrual mood disorder)?

PMDD (premenstrual mood disorder) is a condition in which psychological symptoms occur before menstruation at a level that interferes with daily life. Psychiatric symptoms include irritability, irritability, depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, emotional instability, and tearfulness. You may have the same symptoms each time, or your symptoms may change from menstrual period to day.

The symptoms of PMDD vary from person to person, but usually begin 1-2 weeks before menstruation. Symptoms subside when menstruation begins.

What Causes PMDD (Premenstrual Mood Disorder)?

The cause of PMDD, like PMS, is still unknown. However, PMDD is thought to be closely related to two factors: changes in female hormones and a decrease in serotonin levels.

The first is changes in female hormones. Before menstruation, estrogen and progesterone fluctuate greatly. It is thought that PMDD symptoms occur because the brain and central nervous system are affected by hormonal fluctuations.

The second factor is a decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin has a calming effect, and a decrease in serotonin secretion before menstruation makes PMDD symptoms more likely to occur.

What is the difference from PMS (premenstrual syndrome)?

The symptoms of PMDD and PMS are very similar and difficult to separate. However, the major difference from PMS is that the degree of mental symptoms in PMDD is more severe than in PMS, and is considered to be at a level that interferes with daily life .

In addition, PMDD focuses on severe mental symptoms, while PMS includes physical symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, headaches, and chest tightness in addition to mental symptoms.

For both PMDD and PMS, symptoms appear about 7 to 10 days before menstruation, and symptoms disappear or improve when menstruation begins.

[PMDD Diagnosis] Let's check

I've created a checklist to see if your symptoms apply to PMDD. Would you like to do a self-check?

  • emotional instability before menstruation
  • Uncontrollable anger and irritation before menstruation
  • Feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless, or depressed before menstruation
  • Premenstrual mood changes that make it difficult to function normally at work, school, or home
  • Symptoms such as those listed above subside or lessen with the onset of menstruation
If the above is true, you likely have PMDD . However, the checklist is different from the diagnostic criteria, so it is recommended to consult a specialist doctor.

How to improve PMDD

There are many options for improving PMDD . First of all, let's fix your lifestyle and stabilize your hormone balance.

If the symptoms are still painful, you can consult a gynecologist or psychiatrist, take Chinese herbal medicine, or receive counseling from a psychologist.

[Improvement of lifestyle habits] Lack of sleep is NG! Live a stress-free life

The first thing I would like to do to alleviate the symptoms of PMDD is to improve my lifestyle. Lack of sleep and stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and exacerbate the symptoms of PMDD. It goes without saying that premenstrual disorders are likely to occur, but it is important to get enough rest and sleep on a daily basis. It is also necessary to find ways to reduce stress and make it less likely to be felt. Even if you feel stressed, it's good to find a good way to vent.

[Chinese medicine treatment] Take Chinese medicine

Secondly, herbal medicines are also effective in improving PMDD. Kampo medicine emphasizes the balance of "qi, blood, and water" in the body. Since PMDD is a premenstrual symptom, the focus will be on regulating the “blood”.

There are many herbal remedies that can help calm PMDD symptoms.
For example, if you are very irritated, you may choose "Kamishoyosan", which has a cooling effect.

Chinese herbal medicines have few side effects, and are especially an option for those who are resistant to the hormones and antidepressants introduced below.

However, if you do not drink Kampo hot water that suits your constitution, it will not be very effective. It is recommended to consult a specialist such as a Kampo outpatient or a pharmacist familiar with Kampo.

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[Drug therapy] Get a prescription from a gynecologist or psychiatrist

You can also consult a gynecologist or a psychiatrist and have them prescribe medications that are appropriate for your symptoms. In gynecology, hormonal agents such as low-dose pills are often used.
Suppressing ovulation by taking hormonal drugs eliminates the large fluctuations in premenstrual hormones, thus improving the symptoms of PMDD.

Psychiatrists often use drugs that regulate hormones in the brain, such as antidepressants.
It is selected from multiple drugs according to mental symptoms such as depression, irritability, and anxiety.

[Psychotherapy] Counseling at a mental clinic

Finally, there is also psychotherapy at mental clinics. The symptoms of PMDD are often relieved by talking to others about their distressing feelings and symptoms and gaining empathy.

One of the methods of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy starts with looking at yourself objectively, and then talks with experts about ways to reduce stress and countermeasures.

By changing specific behavior, it will lead to improvement of mental symptoms.

What is the link between PMDD and depression?

PMDD and depression have some common symptoms. Feeling depressed, having trouble concentrating, and not being motivated. The key to distinguishing between PMDD and depression is when the symptoms appear.

PMDD symptoms subside when menstruation begins, whereas depression persists regardless of the menstrual cycle. However, PMDD and depression can coexist.

If you have severe mental symptoms and find it difficult to lead a daily life, please consult a psychiatrist or gynecologist.

Read the following articles together
Depressive feelings associated with PMS explained |


I organized the difference between PMDD and PMS and how to distinguish them. Although it is difficult to draw a clear line, PMDD has more serious mental symptoms and interferes with daily life. If you fit the PMDD checklist, we recommend consulting a psychiatrist or gynecologist.

There are multiple ways to improve PMDD, such as adjusting the hormone balance by reviewing daily life, treatment with hormones, antidepressants, and Chinese medicine. In addition, psychotherapy is also an option, so let's take the treatment that suits you while consulting with your doctor or specialist.

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