Birth Control Pills

PMDD vs. PMS: What is the Difference?

Yaz has been approved by the FDA to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder.  In its initial advertisements however, Bayer implied that Yaz could be used to treat the far less serious symptoms of PMS (pre-menstrual symptoms) as well.  A warning letter from the FDA was issued, forcing Bayer to change their ads.

So what exactly is PMDD?  And how does it differ from PMS?

The difference can be thought of as a matter of degree.  PMDD is a severely life-disrupting condition that involves the following symptoms:

  • markedly depressed mood
  • anxiety
  • tension
  • lack of energy
  • changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • persistent anger or irritability
  • decreased interest in normal, everyday activities

A diagnosis of PMDD must be made by looking at at least two menstrual cycles.  It is a serious condition marked by the feeling of loss of control.  Very few women suffer from this serious disorder.

PMS on the other hand is very common, with most women experiencing it to some degree at one time or another.  It also has both physical and emotional symptoms.  Physically, a woman may experience one or many of the following:

  • bloating
  • acne
  • changes in sleeping patterns
  • headaches
  • backaches
  • food cravings

Emotional changes may include:

  • anxiety
  • anger
  • irritability
  • withdrawal
  • aggression
  • inability to concentrate

As one can see, PMDD and PMS share many overlapping symptoms, but the difference is one of degree.  PMS does not rise to the level of a serious life disruption, while PMDD makes it very difficult to function in a normal way.  INSERT CONCLUSION