Raising visibility and understanding of PMDD

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a complex and often misunderstood condition that affects millions of women worldwide. Despite its prevalence, many individuals may not feel comfortable discussing their symptoms or may not even realise they are experiencing PMDD, attributing their distress to typical premenstrual syndrome (PMS).


This article aims to raise awareness of PMDD, its symptoms, its impact on daily life, available support, and management strategies to empower individuals to seek help and improve their well-being.

Understanding PMDD

PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome characterised by a range of emotional and physical symptoms that occur in the days leading up to menstruation. While some overlap exists between PMDD and PMS symptoms, PMDD symptoms tend to be more severe and debilitating.

Common emotional symptoms of PMDD include extreme mood swings, irritability, depression, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in usual activities. Physical symptoms may include fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and intense food cravings.

Recognising PMDD

One of the challenges in addressing PMDD is the lack of awareness and recognition of the condition. Many women may dismiss their symptoms as typical PMS or may feel uncomfortable discussing their menstrual health concerns. Additionally, the cyclical nature of PMDD symptoms, occurring only in the days before menstruation, can further contribute to misdiagnosis or underdiagnosis.

Support and resources for PMDD

Despite these challenges, there is a growing awareness of PMDD, and numerous resources and support options are available for individuals seeking help. Online support groups and communities provide a safe space for individuals to share their experiences, seek advice, and connect with others who understand their struggles. These communities offer valuable support and validation, helping individuals feel less isolated in their journey with PMDD.

Professional help

Seeking support from healthcare professionals, such as therapists or counsellors, is essential for managing PMDD effectively. Counselling can provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to explore their feelings, develop coping strategies, and learn techniques for managing symptoms.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other therapeutic approaches have been shown to be effective in treating PMDD by helping individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and develop healthy coping mechanisms.


In addition to therapy, medication may be prescribed to alleviate PMDD symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are commonly used antidepressants that can help regulate mood and reduce emotional symptoms associated with PMDD. Hormonal treatments, such as birth control pills or GnRH agonists, may also be recommended to help regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate symptoms.

Self-care strategies

Self-care plays a crucial role in managing PMDD symptoms and promoting overall well-being. Incorporating self-care practices into daily life can help individuals cope with the challenges of PMDD and reduce the impact of symptoms on their daily functioning. Here are some self-care strategies that may be helpful:

Regular exercise

Engaging in physical activity, such as walking, yoga, or swimming, can help reduce stress, improve mood, and alleviate symptoms of PMDD.

Healthy eating

Maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can support overall health and may help reduce PMDD symptoms. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and sugary foods, which can exacerbate mood swings and fatigue, is also recommended.

Stress management

Practicing relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or mindfulness, can help reduce stress and promote emotional well-being.

Prioritising sleep

Establishing a regular sleep schedule and practising good sleep hygiene can help improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue associated with PMDD.

Setting boundaries

Learning to say no to additional commitments or responsibilities during times of heightened symptoms can help individuals conserve energy and focus on self-care.

Seeking support

Building a support network of friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional validation and encouragement during difficult times. Connecting with others who understand can reduce feelings of isolation and provide valuable perspective and comfort.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a significant and often challenging condition that affects many women worldwide. By raising awareness of PMDD, its symptoms, and available support and management strategies, we can empower individuals to seek help, reduce stigma, and improve their quality of life.

With proper support and resources, individuals with PMDD can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and lead fulfilling lives. Our team of counsellors are very experienced in supporting people suffering with PMDD and can support across various locations in the UK or remotely at your convenience. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14
Written by Hope Therapy & Counselling Services
Windsor SL4 & Newbury RG14

Hope Therapy & Counselling Services are dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate mental health and wellbeing support to individuals, couples, and families. Our team of experienced and qualified counsellors & therapists are committed to helping clients navigate life's challenges and achieve personal growth and well-being.

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