Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

woman thinking about premenstrual

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder refers to a group of emotional and physical symptoms that starts a week or two before periods.PMDD is similar to PMS but its symptoms specially the emotional ones are so severe that it affects day to day activities.

80% of the women suffer from one or the other symptoms of PMS but that doesn’t mean that we can generalise any mood swing as PMS.

There are only 3-5% women who actually suffer from severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Typically PMDD symptoms start within 7-10days of start of periods, though they may start little earlier or later. There is a wide spectra of 150 different types of symptoms which a women can experience during this time, few of them are:

Emotional symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder can include:

  • agitation or nervousness
  • anger
  • crying spells
  • feeling out of control
  • forgetfulness
  • loss of interest in activities and relationships
  • irritability
  • moodiness
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • sadness
  • thoughts of suicide

Physical symptoms of PMDD can include:

  • acne
  • back pain
  • bloating
  • breast swelling and tenderness
  • gastrointestinal issues, including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • cramps
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • heart palpitations
  • appetite changes
  • joint or muscle pain
  • muscle spasms
  • painful periods
  • reduced sex drive

These symptoms, especially the emotional ones, can take a big toll on your daily life, getting in the way of work, school, or relationships. They tend to go away on their own once your period starts, only to return after the next time you ovulate.

Cause is still unknown. Some people believe that people who suffer from PMDD have an exaggerated response to hormonal fluctuations that normally happens during the menstrual cycle. These hormonal fluctuations cause alteration in the level of serotonin which is also known as happy chemical thereby causing mood alterations and physical changes.

Most important way by which we can survive through it together is by talking about it. Express your emotions to your family , partner, friends so that they can support you in the best possible way. 

If the symptoms are so much so that it is hampering your day to day life and relationships immediately consult  your gynecologist. She will conduct a physical examination and run certain tests so as to rule out other things. 

Make a note of when your symptoms tend to appear and disappear. Be sure to give this information to your doctor.To make things easy, consider using a period tracking app if you don’t already. Look for one that allows you to add your own symptoms you’d like to track. You can also print out a chart to track your symptoms.After a few months of tracking your symptoms, you’ll be able to see how they change throughout your cycle and impact your daily life. This can be extremely helpful for ruling out other conditions.

Treating PMDD is a multidisciplinary approach which includes a gynecologist, psychiatrist, counsellor, dietician , yoga and meditation instructor.

Lifestyle Changes:

Make lifestyle changes like doing regular exercise, yoga and meditation. Increase intake of vitamin B6 , calcium , zinc and magnesium. Try to cut on sweets and snacks which are rich in sodium. Keep your stress under check by doing yoga and meditation.

Working with a therapist can help you navigate the emotional challenges that come with PMDD. A specific type of therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy can be particularly helpful.This approach helps you to develop new behaviors and thought patterns to help you better navigate difficult situations. 

If the lifestyle changes are not helping then gynecologists can offer to prescribe birth control pills or GnRH analogues to stop ovulation which will reduce the symptoms automatically.

Psychiatrists may also prescribe medications which increase the happy chemical serotonin in the body.

Take Home message from this article is SPEAK UP.

It’s not your personality, it’s the hormones which are acting on you and making you behave like this. Only if you share your concerns with your loved ones and your friends at work it will bring a positive change in your life . Share your concerns with your gynecologist and if they are unable to perceive you take a second opinion from another doctor. Seek for help because that’s the only way we can come off this happy and strong.

Certified by : Dr. Ahuja from Project Pink Butterfly.

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