You can indeed have both PCOS and PMDD.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition that affects how the ovaries work. It is characterized by hormonal imbalances, insulin resistance, and the development of small cysts on the ovaries.
On the other hand, PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a hormone-based mood disorder where the brain has a negative reaction to the hormone fluctuations that occur with ovulation.
Common symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, irregular periods, or very light periods. Due to PCOS, ovulation often does not occur, which means that the usual fluctuations in reproductive hormones during the menstrual cycle do not occur. As a result, some of the hormonal fluctuations associated with PMDD may be affected or even absent during certain cycles where ovulation does not occur.
One of the challenges of having both PCOS and PMDD is that it can be harder to pinpoint when PMDD symptoms will occur when you have an irregular cycle due to PCOS. This unpredictability can make managing and treating the symptoms more challenging.
When dealing with both PCOS and PMDD, it's important to consider which condition's symptoms are more severe or disruptive to your quality of life.
In some cases, there may be treatments that can help manage both conditions simultaneously. For example, certain combination birth control pills can regulate menstrual cycles, improve PCOS symptoms, and also help alleviate PMDD symptoms by providing more stable hormone levels throughout the month. However, each person's situation is unique, and treatment should be tailored to individual needs and health concerns.
Furthermore, some individuals may have hormone sensitivities to androgens (male hormones), which are elevated in PCOS. These sensitivities can affect mood and emotions, potentially exacerbating PMDD symptoms. Understanding these sensitivities can be crucial in developing effective treatment plans.
Added August 2023
Dr. Jaclyn Ross, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist & IAPMD Clinical Advisory Board Member.