Feeling depressed, anxious, rage, insomniac, or getting physical traumas? You could be living with a condition called Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or its severe form called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), also known as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder. 

Many of us may be familiar with PMS and its effects. It affects emotions, physical health, and psychological behavior of nearly 90 percent of menstruating women during the menstrual cycle, or let’s say five to 11 days beginning around day 14 of the menstrual cycle and continues till or until 7 days after the menstruation begins. It must impede some aspect of your life for your doctor to diagnose you if you’re living with it or not.

The cause of PMS is not so known. However, many researchers believe that it is related to an interaction between sex hormones and brain chemicals or serotonin levels at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain and gut that affects your moods, emotions, and thoughts.

PMS is very common but irritating because of and besides your periods. Its principal and common symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, depression, and anger.

Other symptoms include:

  • abdominal bloating/pain
  • cramps
  • sore breasts
  • acne
  • food cravings, especially for sweets or overeating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • headaches
  • sensitivity to light or sound
  • fatigue
  • changes in sleep patterns
  • sadness, over sensibility, crying
  • emotional outbursts

Nearly 80% of women report one or more symptoms, 20 to 32% of women report moderate to severe symptoms, and 3 to 8% report PMDD (which is why it’s not commonly known). The severity of symptoms can vary by individual and by month.

And because of a few similar symptoms to that of other diseases or disorders, and their capability of affecting your daily life, the associated risks factors of PMS also increase that include: 

  • a history of depression or mood disorders, or bipolar disorder
  • a family history of PMS
  • a family history of depression
  • domestic violence
  • substance abuse
  • physical trauma
  • emotional trauma

If the symptoms mentioned above take a severe turn, they can be diagnosed as PMDD, characterized by significant emotional distress, anxiety, and in extreme cases, depression and suicidal thoughts. The associated risks mentioned above can trigger or worsen PMDD symptoms.

All this makes it more imperative for your doctor to make a diagnosis to determine whether your symptoms are the results of PMS/PMDD or some other condition. Your doctor will ask about any history of depression or mood disorders in your family or do some tests like a physical or a gynecological exam, a complete blood count, or a liver function test. They may also recommend a psychiatric evaluation.

Well, you can also determine your PMS symptoms by keeping a regular check on them, and if your symptoms start around the same time each month, PMS is a likely cause.

You can’t cure PMS, but you can ease your mild or moderate form of PMS by taking a few steps like drinking plenty of fluids, eating a balanced diet, taking vitamins, sleeping at least eight hours per night & exercising to decrease bloating and improve your mental health. Take a few added steps like a caffeine-free diet, individual or group counseling, stress management classes for PMDD. 

Lakshika Thakur is a freelance content writer with She can be found on Instagram.