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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). For most women, symptoms start about a week before their periods start. Then symptoms go away a few days after their periods start.

Doctors don't know why some women have PMDD and others don't. They also don't know why some women have worse symptoms than others.

Symptoms include mood swings, depression, and feeling grouchy or anxious. You may also have sore breasts, bloating and weight gain, or joint or muscle pain.

With PMDD, these symptoms seriously disrupt your life. They may affect your relationships, work, or school.

Home treatments can help you feel better. Regular exercise and healthy eating also can help.

Doctors often prescribe medicines for PMDD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can relieve symptoms. So can low-estrogen birth control pills. If these don't help, your doctor may prescribe other medicines.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicines if your body aches or your breasts are sore. These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Get regular daily exercise to help improve your mood. Walks are a good choice.
  • Some foods and drinks can make symptoms worse. Try to drink less caffeine or alcohol while you have PMDD or several days before you expect to have symptoms. You may also want to eat less salt then too.
  • Manage your stress. Try to meditate, do guided imagery, or practice breathing exercises.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You feel you cannot stop from hurting yourself or someone else.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You have new or worse belly or pelvic pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.