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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 1996 Jul;18(4):244-50.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder. An update.

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McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


The recent inclusion of research criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in the DSM-IV should help physicians recognize women with symptoms of irritability, tension, dysphoria, and lability of mood which seriously interfere with their lifestyle. PMDD can be differentiated from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which is primarily reserved for milder physical symptoms and minor mood changes. The use of DSM-IV criteria in conjunction with prospective daily charting for at least two cycles is now accepted as common practice in confirming the diagnosis. Treatment options range from conservative lifestyle and stress management to treatment with psychotropic medications and hormonal or surgical interventions to eliminate ovulation for the more extreme cases. Results from several randomized placebo-controlled trials have clearly demonstrated that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors as well as medical or surgical oophorectomy are very effective in treating PMDD. Taken together, these data indicate that treatment may be accomplished by either eliminating the hormonal trigger or by reversing the sensitivity of the serotonergic system.

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