PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

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PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Frustrated Woman Using Laptop ca. 2002

AKA PMS on steroids.

Brief Summary

  • 75 % of women have experienced premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which include emotional and physical symptoms. The emotional symptoms include irritability, impatience and mood swings.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder(PMDD) is thought to affect 3-7% of females. These mood symptoms are more disabling than PMS symptoms and can severely affect work and social relationships.
  • If you have extreme mood swings, irritability and impatience before the time of your period you may have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) or have an underlying mood disorder which worsens during this time.

PMDD refers to a cluster of symptoms which occur 7-10 days before your period is due.  PMDD occurs cyclically at the same time every month. The symptoms are severe enough to affect your day to day functioning and relationships. The symptoms improve when your period starts.

black-woman-stressedDo you fit into any of these categories?

1. your mood is stable, but there is a noticeable dramatic shift in emotions before your period, these get more stable when your period starts.

  • You may have PMDD

2.  You feel sad or have mood swings most of the month, and these feelings worsen around the time of your period.

  • You may have PMDD or/and you may have a mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder that worsens around this time.

Individuals with PMDD alone – can have relativity few mood and anxiety symptoms most of the month then they switch into this agitated, irrational state for a few days a month.

PMDD Sufferers need to have at least 5 of the following occurring in the 7-10 before your period to make an official diagnosis.

Depression of hopeless feelings
Feelings of anxiousness, tension or edge
Irritability that increases as period nears
Oversleeping or insomnia
Lack of interest in favourite things
No motivation
Loss of energy
Difficulty focusing and concentrating
Loss of control feelings, feeling overwhelmed
Severe physical manifestation of PMS symptoms like tender breasts, cramping, bloating, muscle pain and weight gain
Suicidal thoughts

There are targeted treatments for these symptoms PMDD which include medication and non-medication options. Medication needs to be discussed with your doctor and can include antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, oral contraceptive pills and vitamins.

Non-medication techniques are also very useful and include

  • avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • ensuring sufficient exercise
  • healthy diet
  • Yoga/meditation
  • relaxation techniques
  • targeted therapy to help you learn how to cope better with your emotions

If you suspect that you may have PMDD, it is recommended that you keep a close journal of your symptoms and follow up with your medical provider to get correctly diagnosed and treated.

I find that some women accept the symptoms as ‘just part of life’ and are extremely miserable and irritable monthly.

It is treatable – and you and those around yourself do not have to struggle so much every month!

For more information