PMS: Premenstrual Syndrome
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) are common conditions that the vast majority of menstruating women experience on a regular basis. These conditions are believed to be related to the hormonal changes that occur every month as a part of a woman’s natural menstrual cycle.
Signs & Symptoms of PMS, PMDD
The signs and symptoms of PMS and PMDD include physical, emotional, and behavioral ailments that can range from minor to severe, and anywhere in between. These signs and symptoms include:
- Acne flare-ups
- Breast tenderness
- Crying spells
- Difficulty concentrating
- Food cravings
- Mood swings
- Irritability and anger
- Pelvic pain
- Sex drive increase
- Weight gain
These signs and symptoms tend to occur after ovulation, in the one to two weeks leading up to a woman’s period. It is during this time that a woman is most fertile. PMS and PMDD symptoms tend to go away a few days after a woman’s period starts.
PMS and PMDD symptoms also disappear when a woman becomes pregnant or enters menopause.
What’s the Difference Between PMS and PMDD
The symptoms of PMS and PMDD are the same – except that in PMDD, whatever you experience is much more intense, severe, or longer-lasting. PMDD is considered a disabling extension of PMS.
When to Seek Treatment for PMS or PMDD
If the symptoms you are experiencing as a result of PMS or PMDD are affecting your ability to function in your everyday life, call your doctor.
Many women feel that because these conditions are so common, there isn’t any treatment available. But that’s not true. You don’t have to be miserable for a week or two every month and endure your PMS or PMDD symptoms. Tell your Women’s HealthFirst OB-GYN provider about your experience and discover what treatment options you may have.
It’s helpful to keep a log of when your symptoms occur and their severity, and whether you can feel the symptoms coming on as well as what, if anything, brings you relief. Share this log with your Women’s HealthFirst provider. Since there is no definitive test to identify either PMS or PMDD, diagnosis typically depends on a discussion of your medical history and symptoms.
Certain medical conditions – such as chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid disorders – may mimic PMS and PMDD symptoms, so your provider may want to rule out other causes of your symptoms, as well.
In most cases, treating PMS or PMDD centers on treating your specific symptoms. They may include prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as lifestyle changes.
Get the PMS, PMDD Help You Need
Is your PMS or PMDD affecting your family? Would you like to stop the pain and other debilitating symptoms each month? We can help. Call Women’s HealthFirst at (847) 808-8884 or request your appointment now. We have five locations in northwest suburban Chicago to choose from.
Are you an established patient at Women’s HealthFirst? Regaining control of your life with PMS or PMDD is as easy as sending a message to your provider team through our convenient patient portal.