Female disorder-Is it sadness or premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Female disorder - Is it sadness or premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is not common but it can cause a woman of childbearing age to feel very depressed during the week before menstruation. How to differentiate it from sadness or PMS?

Female disorder - Is it sadness or premenstrual dysphoric disorder

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) can cause severe symptoms of depression and irritability before periods in girls and women of childbearing age. Although there is no conclusive research on the origin of this disorder, it is suspected that it has to do with a high sensitivity of the hormone’s estrogen and progesterone.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health in 2017, obtained data in line with the genetic pattern for this disorder. “His symptoms not only include a low state of mind”, assures the general health psychologist Maria Àngels Ollers Adrover. In addition to sadness, which manifests itself in the premenstrual phase – usually a week before menstruation – and disappears with or shortly thereafter, PMDD can cause these other symptoms:

  • Humor changes.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Concentration difficulties.
  • Fatigue.
  • Insomnia or increased desire to sleep.
  • Pain or swelling


Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) consider premenstrual dysphoric disorder as a depressive disorder, although it is not usually a very common diagnosis.

Sadness cannot be considered synonymous with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). “It is true that sadness can appear with the menstrual cycle. However, it is a normal basic emotion at certain times in any person and is not considered a psychological disorder”, states Maria Àngels Ollers Adrover.

For the diagnosis of this disorder, it must be observed that the aforementioned symptoms negatively interfere with the woman’s life (in her work, academic or personal and social relationships). In addition, they must appear in the majority of menstrual cycles during a year and be serious enough or that they create significant discomfort to the person who suffers them, according to the psychologist Maria Àngels Ollers Adrover.


According to studies, around 75% of girls and women have problems not only physical, but also emotional in their menstruation. Between 2% and 10% of women in this classification have PMDD, including more affective symptoms? During premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a bad mood is common. However, in premenstrual dysphoric disorder this is considerably worse.

PMS is more common than PMDD and is considered milder.

PMDD is accompanied by symptoms that lower your mood and feelings of well-being. “However, the sadness that can be felt with premenstrual dysphoric disorder can cause clinically significant discomfort, causing a lack of control in daily life,” says Laura Cuadrado Ortega, general health psychologist.

“When a subject is sad, he may feel reluctance to perform various activities or tasks. When it comes to PMDD, it goes to the extreme of feeling incapable of getting out of bed,” says Cuadrado Ortega.

In premenstrual dysphoric disorder there is no such extent as in depression and the development is cyclical. “Symptoms appear near ovulation or around two weeks prior to menstruation and progressively end after its onset,” says the expert in psychology Cuadrado Ortega.


Self-knowledge and self-care are fundamental supports to face premenstrual dysphoric disorder. “Each person is unique. Knowing ourselves and knowing how and in what moments or situations this disorder interferes, allows us to discover what mitigates it, “says Laura Cuadrado Ortega. This specialist suggests that there are a few things we can pay attention to try to mitigate PMDD:

  • Self-care. Leading a healthier lifestyle, incorporating sleep hygiene habits or practicing sports or physical activity helps to generate endorphins, which provides a greater sense of well-being. It is very necessary to learn to adjust the diet to the needs, integrating healthy foods, consuming a lot of water and avoiding alcohol, sugars and saturated fats.
  • Learn tools both to better manage stress and the emotional world. It is essential to learn to delegate, this does not make anyone worse. You have to give yourself permission to say “no” when you are overwhelmed or conditioned to do something you don’t really want to do and find exercises that add spaces for relaxation. Being aware of personal emotions and allowing yourself to manage them is essential. Writing is also a very therapeutic tool.

The people who are around that young woman or woman who is suffering from this irregularity, cannot ask her to face it and make an effort to improve her emotional state. PMDD is not something that women can deal with, it is something “organic” and it happens that way. “It will also help to speak with nutritionists who specialize in women’s health issues,” recommends the specialist in strategic brief therapy, Cuadrado Ortega.


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