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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Treatment Overview

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Care Plan


First steps to consider

  • Some mild physical symptoms can be treated at home.
  • Try OTC medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and certain supplements.
See home treatments

When you may need a provider

  • For mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety
  • Symptoms are moderate to severe
See care providers

Emergency Care

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  • If you have thoughts or plans of hurting yourself, call 911 or 988 (the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline).

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All treatments for premenstrual dysphoric disorder
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When to see a healthcare provider

You should consider seeing a healthcare provider for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) if you still have bloating, cramps, and mood swings after trying home care. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor if your symptoms are moderate to severe or are interfering with your life. This may be particularly important if you have intense feelings of anger, irritability, and mood changes.

They may prescribe birth control pills, which stabilize hormone levels, or antidepressants to improve your mood. Talk therapy may be recommended to help you with your symptoms.

Getting diagnosed for premenstrual dysphoric disorder

PMDD is diagnosed based on your symptoms. If you have five or more symptoms of PMDD (such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating), as well as one mood-related symptom (depression, anxiety, etc), you may have PMDD.

Symptoms of PMDD can be similar to other conditions, such as major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and thyroid problems. Your doctor may do a mood screening test or order blood tests to rule them out.

What to expect from your doctor visit

The most effective approach is to combine medications with talk therapy, exercise, and other lifestyle approaches that can improve your mood.

  • Doctors often first try treating PMDD with birth control pills, which help regulate hormonal changes.
  • You may be prescribed antidepressants.You can take them every day or start midway through your menstrual cycle (14 days before your period starts). Discuss with your doctor what’s best for you.
  • It may be helpful to see a mental health professional. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talk therapy that can help you manage your symptoms.

Prescription PMDD medications

  • Oral contraceptive pills
    • Loestrin
    • Junel
    • Yaz
  • Diuretics
  • Antidepressants such as SSRIs. These include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), or escitalopram (Lexapro).
  • Prescription-strength pain relievers such as ibuprofen
  • Muscle relaxers like methocarbamol (Robaxin) and cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)

Types of PMDD providers

  • A primary care provider can treat mild to moderate symptoms.
  • An OB-GYN is a doctor who specializes in women’s health.
  • Psychologists or clinical social workers provide talk therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in psychiatric disorders. They can prescribe medication and some may offer therapy.
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