Premenstrual disorders (PMD) are characterised by a cluster of somatic and psychological symptoms of varying severity that occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and resolve during menses (Freeman and Sondheimer, Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry 5:30-39, 2003; Halbreich, Gynecol Endocrinol 19:320-334, 2004). Although PMD have been widely recognised for many decades, their precise cause is still unknown and there are no definitive, universally accepted diagnostic criteria. To consider this issue, an international multidisciplinary group of experts met at a face-to-face consensus meeting to review current definitions and diagnostic criteria for PMD. This was followed by extensive correspondence. The consensus group formally became established as the International Society for Premenstrual Disorders (ISPMD). The inaugural meeting of the ISPMD was held in Montreal in September 2008. The primary aim was to provide a unified approach for the diagnostic criteria of PMD, their quantification and guidelines on clinical trial design. This report summarises their recommendations. It is hoped that the criteria proposed here will inform discussions of the next edition of the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), and the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-V) criteria that are currently under consideration. It is also hoped that the proposed definitions and guidelines could be used by all clinicians and investigators to provide a consistent approach to the diagnosis and treatment of PMD and to aid scientific and clinical research in this field.