What is the difference between PMS and PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is the American Psychiatric Association’s definition of severe PMS. The criteria for inclusion using this definition are rather restrictive and only apply to 5-8% of PMS sufferers. In practice, the term is not widely used in the UK, even in the USA, it tends to be used more for research purposes and medical insurance reimbursement rather than in clinical practice. Is there a link between Postnatal depression and PMS? Premenstrual, postnatal and perimenopausal depression are all hormone related depressive disorders. It is thought that women who suffer with these problems have a vulnerability to hormonal changes. This vulnerability is thought to be due to a genetic cause. Women with postnatal illness often have a family history of PMS, postnatal or perimenopausal depression. They are usually well during pregnancy when hormone levels are stable but develop postnatal depression after delivery as hormone levels fall. As menstruation returns PMS symptoms then recommence or occur for the first time. How does perimenopause affect PMS?
As women approach the perimenopause, hormone fluctuations become more exaggerated because the ovaries are not working well and the brain does not control ovarian function as efficiently. In women who are vulnerable to these hormonal changes premenstrual symptoms can commence or deteriorate. The PMS symptoms are often compounded by the start of menopause symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and insomnia. Does PMS decrease with the Menopause? Premenstrual symptoms will usually cease when women become post menopausal, typically one to two years after the final menstrual period. This is because the hormonal fluctuations which trigger the symptoms become much calmer and eventually settle down completely.