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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

Bedbugs have been found in all 50 states, in many locations - rural, urban, and suburban. "They're an equal-opportunity pest," says Henriksen. "They can be in budget properties as well as four-star resorts." But there's no reason to douse yourself, your kids, or your home with insecticides, says Johnson. "Panic and paranoia doesn't help at all," adds Henriksen. "Vigilance is the most important thing - following the checklist, doing an inspection - and those are the things that are going to minimize your likelihood of an infestation." More from our friends at Health.com: 10 ways to make any hotel room healthier istockphoto

Moody much?

If you're a woman, this probably sounds familiar. One week out of every month, you find yourself crying more than usual. You have to refrain from snapping at your co-workers. You constantly crave chocolate.

Experts tell women these are just side effects of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. But if you find yourself in a serious emotional funk that goes so far as to disrupt your work and relationships, you may have PMS's debilitating cousin, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). And if the blues continue even after your period, they could be a sign of depression or bipolar disorder.

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

Bulimics often feel low just after binging - or missing a workout. Excessive self-criticism and self-doubt are common problems, too. Bulimics tend to be perfectionists. istockphoto

What is PMDD?

girl, woman, pretty, pouting, sad, bummed, angry, depressedPMDD wreaks the same emotional havoc of PMS, but more so. The disorder strikes women the week before their period and subsides when their period starts, just like PMS. Experts associate PMDD with higher incidences of suicidal thoughts in women.

While about 75 percent of women have at least mild premenstrual symptoms, only about 5 percent have symptoms severe enough to quality for PMDD, says Dr. M. Beatriz Currier, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. No one knows exactly what causes either PMS or PMDD, but figuring out whether you have PMDD can help you ease its effects. Most women with PMDD have found relief through diet, exercise, and rest.

If these six symptoms describe how you're feeling, you may have more than PMS.

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

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Your symptoms are all emotional

PMS includes a whole host of physical symptoms - like breast tenderness, bloating - along with emotional symptoms like mood swings. "When it crosses over to where the symptoms are mostly emotional and are really interfering with your life, that could be PMDD," says Dr. Patricia J. Sulak, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and the director of the adolescent sex education program at Scott & White Clinic and Memorial Hospital, in Temple.

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

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You experience debilitating depression

If you're a little down the week before your period but feel fine the rest of the month, chances are you're experiencing PMS. But if your pre-period depression really interferes with your work and your relationships, PMDD is likely to blame. And if you can't climb out of the rut all month long, you may have depression or another underlying illness.

"Some women will say they're really, really impossible the week before their period, but when you start probing into their energy, appetite, and sleep conditions, they tell you they never really get back to their old self," explains Dr. Currier. "That could mean patients have a baseline depression that gets worse during their premenstrual time."

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

Do you enjoy making people cry? No, not at the office, silly, in the bedroom. A person who gets turned on by tears - and maybe the emotional intensity that comes after making nice with his/her "victim" - is called a dacryphiliac. As long as this sort of play is consensual, there is probably no need to be concerned. However, Dr. Ian Kerner, a New York City sex therapist, cautions that all fetishes and sexual compulsions have the potential to become pathological. iStockPhoto

You're extremely irritable, anxious, and cry easily

Even if you don't have depression, you could still be a victim of PMDD if you are irritable, anxious, and cry easily. But how do you know if your irritability level is normal or not? Who hasn't had a day where her nerves are wound a tad tighter and everyone is annoying?

If your annoyance level rises to the point where you're lashing out at your family or co-workers, you may have moved beyond PMS. And while you may be weepier than usual before your period, you shouldn't be concerned unless you are regularly crying over nothing.

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

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You feel easily overwhelmed and out of control

When you're juggling family matters, work obligations, and more, who wouldn't be overwhelmed? But when that feeling threatens to engulf you, take note - it may be PMDD. "My patients tell me they're easily discombobulated when they need to get the kids off to school," says Dr. Currier. "They feel overwhelmed with their typical day-to-day schedule."

"I've even had a couple of patients tell me in tears that the week before their period was when they were most apt to scream at - or even think about hurting - their children," Dr. Sulak adds. "They get to the point where they feel completely out of control."

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

You're on a conference call, but your mind keeps wandering. Next thing you know, you've lost chunks of conversation. With ADHD, sustaining focus is a real problem and a core feature of the disorder. Unimportant things - from external noises and movement to daydreams - grab your attention. Move to a work space with fewer distractions or use white noise to block out other sounds in the surrounding environment. istockphoto

You have problems concentrating

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Memory or concentration lapses - like misplacing your keys or blanking on a name - are no cause for alarm right before your period. But when these issues start seriously interfering with your life, you should see your doctor. "It's really common for women with PMDD to say, 'I just can't get through my work,'" says Dr. Currier. "They'll tell you they're just not productive during this time."

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PMS? 6 signs it may be more serious

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The duration of your symptoms

Whatever your combination of symptoms, they should disappear within a day or two of getting your period - if you have PMS. If the symptoms are life-disrupting but they still go away at the start of your period, you should talk to your doctor about the possibility it may be PMDD. In either case, says Dr. Currier, "the symptoms typically become a problem the week before you get your period and abruptly subside on Day 2 of menses."

But if the symptoms aren't necessarily in sync with your period, generalized anxiety disorder or depression may be to blame. "If the bad stuff is going on all month long," says Dr. Sulak, "there's something other than PMS going on."

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