Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to any symptoms that occur in the 1-2 weeks before your period. These can be mild symptoms or very severe, debilitating ones. It is also common for women with other conditions like migraine, diabetes, and depression to find that their symptoms flare up premenstrually. Treatments depend on the specific symptoms you have.

Premenstrual dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a specific diagnosis, with a focus on mental health symptoms. The most common symptom is severe fatigue, with other prominent symptoms including irritability, anger, teariness, and anxiety.

Around 5% of women who have periods have PMDD. It is thought that PMDD is essentially a bad reaction to progesterone, or more specifically allopregnanolone (progesterone is converted into ALLO in some parts of the body). Treatments include the oral contraceptive pill (to stop the rise in progesterone after ovulation), and antidepressants such as fluoxetine (which may prevent the conversion of progesterone to ALLO in the brain).

There are no tests for PMDD, with diagnosis based on you tracking your symptoms over 2 months.

Bring with you to clinic: 

  • symptom diary/APP
  • a list of any medications you have already tried.

Useful links

The International Association of Premenstrual Disorders

IAPMD printable tracking tool

Daily Record of Severity of Problems (the ‘official’ way to diagnose PMDD)

Tracking APPs

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Me vs PMDD