An interpretative phenomenological analysis of experiences of women living with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder




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Peer reviewed



Objectives: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) affects 3-8% of women of reproductive age. Common debilitating symptoms include mood swings, depressed mood, irritability, anger and anxiety, which are often accompanied by lethargy, hypersomnia/insomnia and pain. Individuals and professionals are often unaware of the impact of the disorder on women’s life. This study aimed to gain an insight into the experiences of women living with PMDD and to deepen the understanding of the changes women encounter during their premenstrual phase. Design: Semi-structured interviews were conducted and data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore how women experience and interpret their PMDD. Methods: Eight U.K. based, women with a self-reported history of PMDD for longer than six months, were recruited through Facebook PMDD support groups and were interviewed via Skype. Results: Three themes were identified: ‘the overwhelming nature of the condition’ illustrated how PMDD brought monthly debilitating changes to the women’s lives; ‘the effortful diagnostic journey of PMDD’ illuminated the journey, from the mystical onset of the disorder to the relief when they could ‘put a name on it’; ‘dealing with the monthly hurricane’ revealed the individual coping approaches in dealing with the disorder. Conclusions: Participants illustrated the effect of PMDD on their lives: the struggle to understand the symptoms, the difficulty of getting a medical diagnosis, and strategies to cope with this cyclical condition. This research highlights the importance of raising public awareness and increasing Health Care Professionals’ knowledge about the disorder in to improve women’s quality of life.



Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)


Skopaite, B. and Mitchell, H. (2017) An interpretative phenomenological analysis of experiences of women living with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Poster presentation, British Psychological Society Division of Health Psychology Annual Conference. Cardiff, Wales. September 6th-8th, 2017


Research Institute

Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)