Depression is a symptom that many women experience during their menstruating years. The key element that sets apart premenstrual syndrome (PMS)-related depression from other forms of depression is the timing of symptoms. More than 150 different symptoms have been ascribed to PMS, but the hallmark of PMS-related problems is their occurrence during the two weeks prior to the onset of menstruation (around the time of ovulation). Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe subtype of PMS that involves more types of emotional symptoms (such as sadness, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, and loss of interest in things). Women suffering from PMS-related depression and PMDD report dramatic relief from their symptoms once their menstrual flow is underway.
On the other hand, clinical depression -- known medically as major depression -- lasts at least two weeks or longer and is associated with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Major depression is often associated with an inability to perform daily tasks at work and to interact socially, as well as a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Despite the frequent occurrence of depression among women, many sufferers feel too isolated and embarrassed to discuss their symptoms with their doctor. It is extremely important to share your symptoms with your doctor, especially if you are experiencing loss of appetite, insomnia, extreme nervousness, or disinterest in or inability to complete daily activities. Treatments are available for all forms of depression, as well as for PMS. and PMDD