PMDD: More than PMS

For the first time, a new kind of treatment is available for a new kind of disorder. Similar to PMS, it's called PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. "PMSS is an intensified PMS and where you need medication in order to function properly," says OB/GYN Dr. Ann Uhls.

PMDD happens one or two weeks before each period, month after month. It may sound like PMS, but the emotional and physical symptoms are much more serious and noticeable. "It can be horrible and obstructive," says OB/GYN Dr. J.P. Pyeatte. "It's serious enough it can affect relationships with families, spouse and even work relationships," says Dr. Uhls. .

Symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Intense irritability
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Sadness
  • Tension
  • Crying episodes.

Now there's a first of it's kind medication called Sarafem, especially made to treat PMDD. It's an anti-depressant that's actually a tweaked version of the drug Prozac. "Tt's made by the same company that makes Prozac. It's actually Prozac in a different form," says Dr. Uhls.

Because PMDD can be difficult to define, and is still so new, Dr. Uhls women monitor themselves each month to determine the real cause of their symptoms. "You need to plot out on a calendar when and what your symptoms are to figure out if it's PMS, PMDD or depression and call the doctor," says Dr. Uhls. Not just PMS

Relief may just be a few pills away, if it's the right medication for the right kind of problem.