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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) can be challenging to manage, but with the right strategies, you can alleviate its symptoms and improve your overall well-being.

First and foremost, though: what is PMDD?

PMDD is a more intense representation of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), according to a Mayo Clinic article. PMS is the behavioral and physical changes that some women can experience up to two weeks before their menstrual periods.

Symptoms of PMDD can vary greatly and may look like other conditions or medical problems, according to a Johns Hopkins Medicine article. Some of these symptoms include depression, anxiety, poor self-image, breast pain, headache, nausea, backache, and abdominal cramps.

PMDD is distinguished by the severity of these symptoms, according to the Johns Hopkins Medicine article. They can disrupt daily life, work, and interpersonal relationships. Additional emotional symptoms include irritability, anger, moodiness, and crying spells.

While the exact cause of PMDD remains unclear, research indicates that it is often associated with heightened sensitivity to the natural hormonal irregularities that occur during the menstrual cycle, as reported by Mind, a registered mental health charity in England. 

Hormonal changes can lead to a deficiency in serotonin, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center. Serotonin is a chemical substance that regulates mood and happiness. 

The medical center also lists strategies and resources that can help manage PMDD. These include regular exercise and stress management through techniques like meditation and relaxation. Dietary adjustments that increase protein and carbohydrates while decreasing sugar, salt, caffeine, and alcohol can also help.

It is essential to recognize that PMDD affects individuals differently, so don’t hesitate to experiment with various stress-free methods to discover what works best for you.

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Isaira Alvarez, I am a sophomore majoring in journalism in the college of communications at Boston University.