PMS versus PMDD

Is there a difference between PMS and PMDD? What is it? Do I have PMS or PMDD? Symptoms & treatment Gerald V. Burke, MD Voorhees, NJ

PMS versus PMDD

PMS versus PMDD: Is There a Difference?

Women often wonder,

  • “Is there a difference between PMS and PMDD.”
  • “If there is a difference, what is it?” And, “Do I have PMS or PMDD?”


PMS/PMDD is a spectrum disorder that 85% of women will experience at some time during their lives. It is an emotional response triggered by imbalances in the female hormones that fluctuate through a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.


The emotional symptoms can range from mild irritability or sadness to uncontrollable rage and suicidal depression. The common feature is that these emotional responses are the result of a relative hormonal imbalance, and not triggered by the woman’s environment. These women are not crazy.


Emotions well up from inside the woman that are frequently inappropriate for the social situation. If the emotions are mild, the woman may be able to control them with concerted effort.


When they are more severe, the woman may be completely helpless to control her emotional outbursts. She is aware of what she is doing, but she feels completely justified at that moment.

Afterwards she will regret her behavior and recognize the inappropriateness of her response.

Is there a difference between PMS and PMDD? What is it? Do I have PMS or PMDD? Symptoms & treatment Gerald V. Burke, MD Voorhees, NJ

Are there common threads to the PMS/PMDD disorder?

There are two common threads to the PMS/PMDD disorder.


The first is that PMS/PMDD is an emotional manifestation of a hormonal imbalance. This is not a psychiatric disorder. These women are not “crazy” in spite of how socially inappropriate their behavior may be. Because it is not a psychiatric disorder, psychiatric treatments do not work for these women. Frequently, these women are diagnosed with manic depressive disorder, unilaterally depressed or simple, cyclic depression. They respond poorly or not at all to antidepressant medications.


Similarly, treatments for PMS/PMDD do not work for psychiatric disorders. That is why an accurate diagnosis is so important. PMS/PMDD is an emotional manifestation of an underlying hormonal disorder, no matter the severity. The hormonal imbalance needs to be treated to resolve the emotional responses.


The second common thread is that while the individual is completely aware of what they are doing, they are unable to control their responses. Whether it is merely increased irritability (snappiness) or “the blues” (crying easily) or full-blown rage or suicidal behavior, the woman knows what she is doing when she is doing it.


However, at the time of her response, she feels fully justified in her actions. Afterwards, when she is not caught up in the throes of her hormonal passion, she recognizes how inappropriate her behavior has been and is embarrassed and regrets her actions.


These women are perfectly sane, but their emotional responses to life can be just as disruptive as someone suffering from a major psychiatric disorder.

Is there a difference between PMS and PMDD? What is it? Do I have PMS or PMDD? Symptoms & treatment Gerald V. Burke, MD Voorhees, NJ

Can these women find relief from their symptoms?

Yes. Whether mild or disabling, with proper diagnosis and hormonal treatment, women
suffering on the PMS/PMDD spectrum can be empowered to lead healthy, fulfilling and safe emotional lives.

These hormonal conditions are best treated by a Reproductive Endocrinologist/Gynecologist like Dr. Burke who specializes in treating hormonally based disorders in women. With proper treatment, you can open the door to your new life.



If you are struggling to find solutions to your PMS or PMDD symptoms, do not hesitate and call now to schedule an appointment to talk with Dr. Burke about your concerns.


Call us at 856-429-2212

Gerald V. Burke, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Infertility, Gynecology & Other Women's Health Issues. Voorhees, New Jersey

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