Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a much more serious form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It can affect women of childbearing age. It’s a severe and chronic medical condition that needs attention and treatment.
What causes Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
The exact cause of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is still an unknown. It can be an abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes which happens with each menstrual cycle. The hormonal changes can cause a serotonin deficiency.
There is a substance which is naturally found in the brain or intestines that narrows blood vessels and can affect mood and cause physical symptoms, known as serotonin.
What are the risks factors associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?
While any woman can have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the following may be at an increased risk:
- Women who are having a family history of PMS or PMDD
- Women who are having a personal or family history of depression, postpartum depression, or other mood disorders
Other possible risk factors include lower education and cigarette smoking
How is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) diagnosed?
Apart from a complete medical history and physical and pelvic exam, there are very few diagnostic tests. Because there are mental health symptoms, your doctor may want you to be checked for mental health concerns.
In addition, your doctor may ask that you keep a journal or diary of your symptoms for several months. In general, to diagnose premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) the following symptoms must be present:
- Depressed mood
- Anger or irritability
- Trouble concentrating
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Increased appetite
- Need for more sleep
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Different physical symptoms, like belly bloating, breast tenderness, and headache
- Symptoms that disturb your ability to function in social, work, or other situations
- Symptoms that are not related to, or exaggerated by, another medical condition
How is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) treated?
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a serious, chronic condition that does need treatment. Several of the following treatment approaches may help relieve or decrease the severity of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms:
- Changes in diet to increase protein and carbohydrates and decrease sugar, salt, caffeine, and alcohol
- Regular exercise
- Stress management
- Vitamin supplements (such as vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium)
- Anti-inflammatory medicines
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI)
- Birth control pills
For some of the women, the severity of symptoms increases over time and lasts until menopause. It can be a reason for which a woman may need treatment for an extended time. The dosage of medicine can change throughout the course of treatment.