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Disclaimer:  Information provided as a part of this blog is not intended to diagnose or treat medical, psychiatric, or addiction disorders. Please reach out to a licensed mental health or medical professional in order to receive an assessment, proper diagnosis, and treatment for these disorders. This blog is only for informational purposes.

PMS vs. PMDD:  What is this and how do you treat it?

April 30, 2019

What is PMS and PMDD?

PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome is a pattern of physical (tender breasts, fatigue, muscle aches, bloating, acne, constipation, diarrhea), emotional (depression, irritability), and behavior symptoms (food cravings).  These symptoms usually show up one to two weeks before your period and often go away after your period starts. The cause is often attributed to hormonal changes.  These changes occur chemically in the brain.   PMS is very common and can affect 30-80% of women who are still in their reproductive ages (12-49).  

PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder often covers the mood and behavior-related symptoms that is also a part of PMS.  It is common for a woman who already has depression or anxiety to also experience PMDD.  The hormonal changes that happen in a woman's body before a period can potentially make mood disorders worse.  The mood and behavioral symptoms of PMDD must happen about two weeks leading up to your period.  Medical professionals will often give you a diagnosis of PMDD after charting your symptoms over a period of time.  You must meet criteria as outlined in the DSM-5 in order to receive this diagnosis.

How Can I manage PMS and PMDD?

The first thing that you should do it start tracking your cycle.  Apps such as My Flo and Clue allow you to track your cycle as well as changes in your mood as well as symptoms.  Changes in your diet, lifestyle, and exercise can also help you to manage your symptoms.  Diet changes may include eating smaller meals, eating more frequent meals, limiting salty foods, and incorporating more complex carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables).  Calcium-rich food has shown to help improve PMS symptoms.  Limiting alcohol and caffeine may also help.  Exercise can help with fatigue and depression.  Managing stress and getting more sleep can also help you to manage your symptoms.

Your doctor can often other treatments or medications which include antidepressants, NSAIDS, diuretics, and hormonal contraceptives.  These treatments are often used when lifestyle changes don't help.


Electronic Cigarettes: What's the Bottom Line?

E-Cigarettes:  What is the Bottom Line?

  • E-cigarettes have the potential to benefit adults who smoke and who are not pregnant if used as a complete substitute for regular cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products.
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, pregnant adults, as well as adults who do not currently use tobacco products.
  • While e-cigarettes have the potential to benefit some people and harm others, scientists still have a lot to learn about whether e-cigarettes are effective in helping adults quit smoking.
  • If you’ve never smoked or used other tobacco products or e-cigarettes, don’t start.
  • Additional research can help understand long-term health effects.
What are e-cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes come in many shapes and sizes. Most have a battery, a heating element, and a place to hold a liquid.
  • E-cigarettes produce an aerosol by heating a liquid that usually contains nicotine—the addictive drug in regular cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products—flavorings, and other chemicals that help to make the aerosol. Users inhale this aerosol into their lungs. Bystanders can also breathe in this aerosol when the user exhales into the air.
  • E-cigarettes are known by many different names. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” “tank systems,” and “electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).”
  • Some e-cigarettes are made to look like regular cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Some resemble pens, USB sticks, and other everyday items. Larger devices such as tank systems, or “mods,” do not resemble other tobacco products.
  • Using an e-cigarette is sometimes called “vaping.”
  • E-cigarettes can be used to deliver marijuana and other drugs.

What is in e-cigarette aerosol?

The e-cigarette aerosol that users breathe from the device and exhale can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including:

  • Nicotine
  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs
  • Flavoring such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious lung disease
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Cancer-causing chemicals
  • Heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead1

It is difficult for consumers to know what e-cigarette products contain. For example, some e-cigarettes marketed as containing zero percent nicotine have been found to contain nicotine.2

What are the health effects of using e-cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are still fairly new, and scientists are still learning about their long-term health effects. Here is what we know now.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which has known health effects.1

  • Nicotine is highly addictive.
  • Nicotine is toxic to developing fetuses.
  • Nicotine can harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.
  • Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant adults and their developing babies.
Besides nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol can contain substances that harm the body.1

  • This includes cancer-causing chemicals and tiny particles that reach deep into lungs. However, e-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer harmful chemicals than smoke from burned tobacco products.

E-cigarettes can cause unintended injuries.1

Who is using e-cigarettes?

  • E-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among youth.
  • In the United States, youth are more likely than adults to use e-cigarettes.
  • In 2020, 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.7% of middle school students and 19.6% of high school students. This represents a decrease from 2019.8
  • In 2019, 4.5% of U.S. adults were current e-cigarette users.9
  • In 2019, among current adult e-cigarette users overall, 36.9% also currently smoked cigarettes, 39.5% formerly smoked cigarettes, and 23.6% had never smoked cigarettes.9
  • Among current adult e-cigarette users, the percentage who have never smoked cigarettes is highest among those aged 18–24 years (56.0%), and is lower in older age groups.
Can e-cigarettes help adults quit smoking cigarettes?

E-cigarettes are not currently approved by the FDA as a quit smoking aid.


Are e-cigarettes less harmful than regular cigarettes?

Yes—but that doesn’t mean e-cigarettes are safe. E-cigarette aerosol generally contains fewer toxic chemicals than the deadly mix of 7,000 chemicals in smoke from regular cigarettes.3 However, e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless. It can contain harmful and potentially harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds, and cancer-causing agents

What are the risks of e-cigarettes for youth, young adults, and pregnant adults?

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and toxic to developing fetuses. Nicotine exposure can also harm adolescent and young adult brain development, which continues into the early to mid-20s.1 E-cigarette aerosol can contain chemicals that are harmful to the lungs. And youth e-cigarette use is associated with the use of other tobacco products, including cigarettes.

For more information about the risks of e-cigarettes for young people, visit Quick Facts on the Risks of E-cigarettes for Kids, Teens, and Young Adults.

Content Sources:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Smoking & Tobacco Use.

                             Office on Smoking and Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion


US Department of Health and Human Services. E-cigarette use among youth and young adults: a report of the Surgeon General pdf icon[PDF–8.47 MB]. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2016.

Goniewicz ML, Gupta R, Lee YH, et al. Nicotine levels in electronic cigarette refill solutions: a comparative analysis of products from the U.S., Korea, and Poland. Int J Drug Policy. 2015;26(6):583–588.

Patnode CP, Henderson JT, Thompson JH, Senger CA, Fortmann SP, Whitlock EP. Behavioral Counseling and Pharmacotherapy Interventions for Tobacco Cessation in Adults, Including Pregnant Women: A Review of Reviews for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Evidence Synthesis No. 134. AHRQ Publication No. 14-05200-EF-1. Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; 2015.

Hartmann-Boyce J, McRobbie H, Bullen C, Begh R, Stead LF, Hajek P. Can electronic cigarettes help people stop smoking, and are they safe to use for this purpose?external icon Published 13 September 2016.

Caraballo RS, Shafer PR, Patel D, Davis KC, McAfee TA. Quit Methods Used by US Adult Cigarette Smokers, 2014–2016external icon. Prev Chronic Dis 2017; 14:160600.

Bjartveit K, Tverdal A. Health Consequences of Smoking 1-4 Cigarettes Per Day. Tobacco Control 2005;14(5):315–20.

QuickStats: Cigarette Smoking Status Among Current Adult E-cigarette Users, by Age Group — National Health Interview Survey, United States, 2015external icon. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1177.

Wang TW, Neff LJ, Park-Lee E, et al. E-cigarette Use Among Middle and High School Students — United States, 2020. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020;69.

Cornelius ME, Wang TW, Jamal A, Loretan C, Neff L. Tobacco Product Use Among Adults – United States, 2019. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 2020. Volume 69(issue 46); pages 1736–1742. [accessed 2020 November 19].

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