PMS vs PMDD: The critical difference

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PMS and PMDD: What’s the Difference?

Nearly 90% of women experience Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) symptoms to some degree a week or two before their period. Changes in mood swings, irritability, tiredness, and bloating are common.

But, for some women, these symptoms can be severe and disruptive to their daily lives. This may be a sign of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). So how do you tell the difference between PMS and PMDD?

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about PMS and PMDD, their causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and coping strategies.


What is the difference between PMS and PMDD?

PMS and PMDD are related to the menstrual cycle, but they’re not the same. Here’s a quick overview: 

How are PMS and PMDD diagnosed?

Diagnosing PMS and PMDD can be tricky as there are no specific lab tests for either. Diagnosis is mostly based on the pattern of symptoms. Here’s how the diagnosis process usually unfolds for both:


PMS treatment options

PMS is typically diagnosed based on your description of symptoms. Your healthcare provider may ask you to record your symptoms in a daily diary for at least two menstrual cycles. This helps to confirm a pattern and rule out other possible causes.

The most effective natural remedy is lifestyle modification, like regular exercise, stress reduction techniques, and a healthy diet. 

Natural supplements like chaste berry, Hypericum perforatum, Valeriana officinali (Valerian), Piper methysticum (Kava), Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower), Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) have calming and anti-anxiety effects that can help manage mood swings and other discomforts. 

Our PMS Transdermal Relief tummy butter is made from all-natural plant-based ingredients, designed to quickly relieve PMS symptoms like cramps, bloating, and water retention. No pills to swallow and no hormones to imbalance your system.

PMDD Diagnosis

In addition to tracking symptoms, a diagnosis of PMDD according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) requires the presence of at least five key symptoms, including at least one mood-related symptom. These include: 

  • Mood swings or sudden tearfulness
  • Irritability or anger
  • Depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, or self-deprecating thoughts
  • Anxiety or tension
  • Decreased interest in usual activities

A medical evaluation may also be necessary to rule out other potential causes like thyroid disorders, mood disorders, or chronic fatigue syndrome.


Key takeaways

PMS and PMDD are similar in many ways. PMDD is a severe form of PMS with more intense symptoms that can disrupt daily life. To diagnose these conditions, a healthcare provider may suggest pain relief and lifestyle modifications or prescribe medications.

It’s recommended to speak to a professional if you think you may have depression, anxiety, or another mental health condition that could be causing your symptoms. Understanding the differences between PMS and PMDD can help you better manage premenstrual disorders and live an easier life.

More about Menstrual Cycle, PMS and PMDD:

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