PMS seems to receive much less attention in the U.S., and in the U.S. medical and research community, than does PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). A cynic might suspect that this has to do with the drug companies’ interest in PMDD. There are medications approved to treat PMDD, while PMS receives much less financial resources, research, and interest. What is PMDD? It is a more severe condition, although the difference is not as great as some assume: severe PMS symptoms can be as bad as PMDD symptoms, resulting in a similar degree of suffering, and even moderate PMS symptoms interfere with a woman’s ability to accomplish what she wants, and to enjoy life.
Although the concept of PMDD is catching on around the world, outside the U.S. PMS receives much more recognition and is understood to be a real and problematic health condition. In the U.S., PMS is often dismissed as a trivial concern, but we disagree.
A survey of the research literature from the last several years shows that in the U.S., the lion’s share of articles on premenstrual symptoms deal nearly exclusively with PMDD. In contrast, over the last three years, there were 16 papers published on PMS itself, from an amazing range of countries. Apparently Britain, Israel, Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Russia, Saudi Arabia, The Netherlands, Poland, Japan, Spain, Czechoslovakia, Korea, China, Brazil, and Canada did not get the bulletin letting them know that PMS is passé. In the UK, there is even National Association For Premenstrual Syndrome.
That article from Canada is of special interest: it was published in 2009, and was titled “Diagnosing and treating premenstrual syndrome in five western nations” and concluded:
“Relatively few doctors in any country diagnose women as suffering from PMS/PMDD.”
We stand corrected: PMS and PMDD are both under-recognized, by the public at large as well as by doctors. We don’t find that so surprising, which is why we’ve created this site, and natural products for PMS symptoms. Another conclusion these researchers presented was that doctors usually prescribe medication when they do make a diagnosis: in the U.S. it is usually SSRI antidepressant medication or birth control; in France it is hormones and analgesics; and in Germany it is an herbal medication (yes, in Germany herbs are commonly prescribed by M.D.s, and are considered drugs).
We’re certain that the best and most effective approach to PMS and PMDD is a holistic one that includes diet, lifestyle, herbal and nutritional supplements, and plenty of support. Our whole site is full of information on our approach, and many of our educational articles have practical advice that can help you get started right away with a natural approach to PMS and PMDD symptoms.