What is the Treatment for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is also known as PMDD, typically involves antidepressants, birth control pills, and changes in lifestyle and diet. Some doctors also recommend increasing the intake of certain vitamins or experimenting with various herbs to help with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Women who suspect they may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder should see their doctors for diagnosis. After a diagnosis is made, treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder may be discussed. Some women might require treatment only around the time of their periods, while other women could need treatment continuously.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is normally described as a very severe form of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. Women who experience premenstrual dysphoric disorder might feel extremely depressed, angry, or irritable just before and during menstruation to such a degree that it affects their everyday lives and relationships. Other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as bloating and changes in eating habits, might also be much worse with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Less than 10 percent of women suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and the women who are most likely to have it typically already have problems with anxiety and depression.


The best treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder prescribed by doctors may be in the forms of antidepressants and birth control pills. Antidepressants can help stabilize the mood, which should suppress feelings of depression and anger. Birth control pills might also be helpful because they help to balance hormone levels, which are often out of whack just before menstruation. When hormones are balanced, irritability and erratic mood swings are less likely to occur. Some women may be able to get by with taking antidepressants just around the time of their periods, while other women might have to take them continuously.

Some other forms of treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder include lifestyle and diet changes, vitamins, and herbs. Women with milder forms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder may benefit from using these methods instead of prescription drugs. Additionally, women on prescription drugs for premenstrual dysphoric disorder may be able to use these other methods of treatment in addition to the drugs they are taking.

Regular exercise is the primary lifestyle change that women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder can begin to help with their symptoms. Research has shown that exercise might help alleviate irritability and depression around the time of the menstrual period. It is also a good idea for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder to avoid certain types of food, including things containing caffeine, excess sodium, and alcohol, which may all make their symptoms worse. Some vitamins that should benefit women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder include calcium and vitamin B-6, both of which are available in supplement form. Herbs that tend to help with symptoms of menstrual dysphoric disorder include chasteberry and black cohosh, but a doctor should approve these before they are taken.


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