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For years premenstrual syndrome has been blamed for unpredictable behavior from moodiness to murder. While four of ten women have PMS, few are affected by its more severe cousin, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Dr. Barbara Bartlik of Cornell University, joins us today to discuss PMS and PMDD. Dr. Bartlik, what is the difference between PMS and PMDD? "Premenstrual syndrome is the exacerbation of just about any symptom, whether it's physical or physiological, during the phase just prior to the period. With premenstrual dysphoric disorder, there has to be a significant mood component; that is a person feels quite depressed, quite anxious prior to their period."

Does that mean PMS is a mental illness? "By no means! PMS falls somewhere between mental and physical symptoms, because some women have purely physiological ones and others have purely physical ones and most have a combination of the two."

The good news about PMS and PMDD is that they are treatable.

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Created: 10/13/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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