Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder

It is no secret that, with the arrival of menstruation each month, the woman's body undergoes changes. But what happens when these changes are much more severe and disrupt normal life? So we are talking about menstrual dysphoric disorder.


  • 1 Who is more prone to suffer from menstrual dysphoric disorder?
  • 2 What are the symptoms of dysphoric menstrual disorder?
  • 3 What can you do if you suffer from menstrual dysphoric disorder or know someone who goes through it?

Who is more prone to suffer from menstrual dysphoric disorder?

This disorder appears in 3 to 6% of women. And especially those who have suffered from severe depression before will be the most likely to suffer from it. Therefore, it is very common and normal among women to suffer premenstrual syndrome, but not menstrual or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Both are related to changes in hormonal levels that take place during the women's cycle. In addition, the level of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin also plays a crucial role. As well as a history of undiagnosed anxiety or depression.

According to the most recent research, the existence of a certain gene has been found in some women, making them more conducive to suffering from menstrual dysphoric disorder. If the symptoms do not stop shortly after starting the period, it is possible that it is depression.

What are the symptoms of dysphoric menstrual disorder?

Before going into details, it is very important to keep in mind that Many women may confuse the symptoms of dysphoric menstrual disorder with those of pre-menstrual syndromeWell, many of them are very similar, especially physical symptoms.

Thus, as physical symptoms can occur problems and mismatches with sleep (default or excess), pain in joints and muscles, as well as head, swelling and weight gain, breast tenderness, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation and changes in appetite, either for lack of it or quite the opposite.

As for the emotional symptoms of menstrual dysphoric disorder, they are much more intense than those of premenstrual syndrome. In the latter, it is very common for women to feel tense, depressed or irritable and for sudden mood swings.

If we talk about the menstrual dysphoric disorder, we will find that these symptoms are multiplied in intensity, to the point that the woman can have suicidal thoughts, is extremely upset and tense without being able to control her emotions, and away from other people and their activities everyday.

What can you do if you suffer from menstrual dysphoric disorder or know someone who goes through it?

The first step to act is analyze the last menstrual cycles and write down the symptoms and changes that may have occurred month by month. Ideally, write them down for several cycles and in great detail, pointing out dates and events, both physical and emotional.

In order to be able to conclude with certainty that a woman suffers from menstrual dysphoric disorder, it is necessary that several of the emotional symptoms have been observed, and that they have greatly hindered or prevented personal relationships and day-to-day activities.

Even so, it is key not only to identify them, but, above all, observe that they disappear a few days after starting the period. Otherwise we could face a depression, for which we would have to follow other treatment and performance guidelines.

Once depression is ruled out and knowing for sure that it is a dysphoric menstrual disorder, it can be treated with certain lifestyle changes. In this way, it is intended to achieve more balanced and healthy habits that will affect the mood.

Although medication can also be treated if necessary, among the recommended changes, special emphasis is placed on food. And, as the saying goes very well: we are what we eat. And if we eat well, we will find ourselves much better.

Thus, the woman should reduce salt consumption and processed, opt for smaller and more frequent rations, give priority to fruits and vegetables and increase the intake of foods rich in quality protein.

It is not surprising that many people and not only women, state that their mood and mood has taken a turn, improving completely and having introduced certain changes in their diet. Other recommended changes are: moderate exercise, sleeping 7-8 hours, quitting tobacco, starting meditation and other stress relieving practices ...

Although there is medication that can also help in more serious cases, such as antidepressants, anxiety drugs and hormonal treatments to improve emotional symptoms, as well as diuretics and analgesics to relieve physical symptoms.

The first step is to be able to analyze and determine with certainty what type of disorder or condition you have. Therefore, it is necessary to carry a continuous control and not leave any detail on the air, however small it may seem. Only then can the doctor know where we started to start a treatment and give the best advice so that your life and your relationships do not suffer.


American Psychological Association, (2013). Manual of diagnosis and statistics of mental disorders (5th ed.) (English version). Washington, DC: The American Psychiatric Association

Andrea López-Mato, Gonzalo Illa, Oscar Boullosa, Coral Márquez, Alejandra Vieitez. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Institute of Integral Biological Psychiatry (IPBI), Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Potter, J., Bouyer, J., Trussell, J., Moreau, C. (2009). Prevalence of premenstrual syndrome and fluctuation over time: results of a survey of the French population (English version): Journal of Women's Health; 18 (1): 31-39