Each month, women in their reproductive years are thrown off track by their menstrual cycle. While few maintain normal activity, at least 75 percent “of women with regular menstrual cycles report unpleasant physical or psychological symptoms premenstrually,” the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health reports. These symptoms can be both physical (bloating, tender breasts, increased appetite, achy muscles or joints, insomnia) and emotional (mood swings, anxiety, irritability, depression). This is referred to as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Some may even experience these symptoms, turned all the way up – to the point where it disrupts their day-to-day. This is a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.

Because symptoms overlap with many other conditions including: chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety, it may be difficult to understand exactly what’s going on with your body. So, what’s the difference between PMS and PMDD?

BlackDoctor.org recently teamed up with the Twin Doctors TV duo, Dr. Jamal and Dr. Idries Abdur-Rahman, who told us everything you need to know.

“Both PMS and PMDD are the result of how a woman’s body responds to the hormonal changes that occur with a normal menstrual cycle. Typically, ovulation and spikes in progesterone levels with corresponding dips in estrogen levels serves as the trigger for both. Physical symptoms like breast soreness, headaches, nausea, abdominal bloating, constipation, acne, fatigue, joint pain, muscle aches, weight gain, anxiety and depression can all result,” said Dr. Jamil.

Dr. Idries added, “PMS consists of normal pre-menstrual symptoms. All but a very lucky few women have some premenstrual syndrome symptoms like headache, bloating, acne, breast tenderness, mood changes, etc. PMS is an irritant but it is normal”.

On the other hand, PMDD symptoms generally begin around 7 to 10 days before your period and is way more than just PMS symptoms.


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