PMDD is a hormone-based or reproductive mood disorder. This distinction identifies disorders directly tied to a woman's reproductive hormones and the natural fluctuation of said hormones throughout a woman's life. Disorders of this variety include:
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Prenatal (Antenatal) Depression
- Postpartum Depression (PPD)
- Menopausal Depression.
Each reproductive event in a woman's life (ovulation, pregnancy, post-pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause) mark a drastic hormonal shift and has the potential to affect a woman's mood stability. Women are twice as likely as men to experience depression in their lifetime. Hormonal differences are usually cited as the major explanation. For this reason, hormone-based mood disorders are also referred to as "reproductive depression".
Not all hormone-based mood disorders are caused by the same hormone. While progesterone may help a woman with one type of disorder, it can be detrimental to another woman suffering from a different disorder. When working towards an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, it is imperative to record and communicate with medical professionals any correlation of symptoms and an aforementioned reproductive event. With education and awareness, proper diagnosis is possible and the hope for better treatments is greatly increased.
A woman with a history of PMDD is at a much higher risk for these types of related disorders, and a woman with PPD will be at a higher risk for PMDD and depression during the transition to menopause. Knowing these connections can help prepare a woman for these hormonal changes and ease the severity of symptoms as the changes are incurred.
Support for related hormone-based mood disorders is available. Please explore the following resources for more information:
- National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome (NAPS)
- Postpartum Support International (PSI)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Mental Health America
2. Schmidt PJ, Nieman LK, Danaceau MA, Adams LF, Rubinow DR. Differential behavioral effects of gonadal steroids in women with and in those without premenstrual syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine. 1998 Jan 22; 338(4): 209-216.