Ask The Doctor
PMDD Mood Swings
Question: Before my period, I get really, really moody. I think I must have severe PMS or PMDD. I cry easily, and I'm in a really bad mood. I can't stand talking to anyone and—can you imagine—I'm in sales! I have to deal with people. Sometimes I just have to bite my tongue because everything bothers me. Ordinarily I'm a happy person. I'm very friendly; I talk to everybody. But during this time, it's like I don't want anyone near me. I can't even stand anyone looking at me. Do you think this is PMS, or do I have some other problem?
Answer: Sarah, the mood swings and the sensitivity you describe sound like either severe PMS or PMDD. Although they are similar, PMDD will usually interfere more with your life. The feature that distinguishes PMS and PMDD from other possible causes of mood swings and irritability is the timing: they are pre-menstrual, or before your period. If your symptoms don't seem to follow a pattern, and seem just as likely to occur at other times of the month, then that is probably something else. You can get a sense of the severity of your symptoms by taking our PMS symptom self-assessment quiz.
It sounds like your moodiness makes it hard to deal with people and do your work, which means it interferes with your life! A little premenstrual moodiness or cramping that doesn't interfere with life is not PMS, and certainly not PMDD—it's just a premenstrual symptom. The articles here on PMS Comfort were created to help you understand your symptoms, their causes, and what you can do about them.
Yours in Health and Wellness,
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Last Modified: October 5, 2011