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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Treatment Overview

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Treating premenstrual dysphoric disorder

You can treat some symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), such as bloating and cramping, with OTC medications, supplements, and some lifestyle changes. Some PMDD treatments include:

  • For menstrual cramps, you can try OTC anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
  • There are also medications that combine pain relievers like acetaminophen (Tylenol) with ingredients that treat bloating, like caffeine, antihistamines, and diuretics. Examples include Midol and Pamprin.
  • Some supplements like calcium and magnesium can also help relieve PMS symptoms.
  • Lifestyle changes: These may include regular aerobic exercise, relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation), placing a heating pad on your abdomen, and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.

For mental health symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, you may need to see a healthcare provider. This may be particularly important if you have intense feelings of anger, irritability, and mood changes.

PMDD treatment may include taking an antidepressant such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) either daily or certain times during your menstrual cycle. Your doctor may suggest taking a birth control pill to help stabilize your hormones. And it may be helpful to see a mental health professional to help you manage PMDD symptoms.

Go to the ER if you have thoughts or plans of hurting yourself.

Medical tests & labs

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. The doctor may ask you to track your symptoms for one or two menstrual cycles.

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

If you have PMDD, a doctor will discuss which medications may help and other ways to treat the problem.

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