Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects 3-8% of women of reproductive age. It is considered a mental disorder that is diagnosed by a healthcare provider based on the presence of specific symptoms. PMDD is characterized by a range of physical and emotional symptoms that occur a week or two before a person’s period. The symptoms can be severe enough to interfere with a person’s daily activities and relationships.
What are the symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?
The symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) include a range of physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and helplessness
- Anxiety, tension, and irritability
- Mood swings
- Anger and increased conflicts with others
- Difficulty concentrating
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Changes in appetite and food cravings
- Bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches
- Sleeping problems
- Joint or muscle pain
It’s worth noting that these symptoms are similar to those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), however, PMDD symptoms are much more severe and disrupt daily life. The symptoms of PMDD should be evaluated by a healthcare provider to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other underlying conditions
What are the causes of PMDD?
The exact causes of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) are not fully understood. However, several factors are thought to play a role, including:
- Hormonal changes: PMDD is related to the menstrual cycle and the fluctuation of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. These changes can affect the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, which can affect mood and emotional well-being.
- Genetics: Studies have shown that some women may have a genetic predisposition to PMDD.
- Inflammation: Some studies suggest that there may be an association between PMDD and chronic inflammation, which is a state of immune system activation that can be triggered by stress, infection, or other factors.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to certain environmental toxins or pollutants may contribute to the development of PMDD.
- Psychology: Some research suggests that women with PMDD may have a higher tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety or depression.
It’s also worth noting that PMDD can occur along with other mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety, which may contribute to the development of PMDD. The development of PMDD may be influenced by a number of things, but it’s important to remember that the exact reason is still not entirely known.
Ways to deal with PMDD on your own
If you are experiencing symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), there are several things you can do to help yourself:
- Keep a symptom diary: Track your symptoms, including the timing and severity of each one, to help you and your healthcare provider identify patterns and patterns of your PMDD.
- Exercise regularly: Exercise can help reduce stress, improve mood, and relieve physical symptoms such as bloating and breast tenderness.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to reduce symptoms of PMDD. Avoiding processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol can also be beneficial.
- Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Practice stress-management techniques: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can help to reduce stress and improve mood.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your healthcare provider can help to determine the best course of treatment for you, which may include medication, therapy, or other interventions.
It’s also worth noting that it’s important to take care of your mental health and well-being and seek support from friends and family.
How to diagnose PMDD?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is diagnosed by a healthcare provider. The diagnosis is based on the presence of specific symptoms and criteria outlined in the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
To diagnose PMDD, a healthcare provider will typically follow these steps:
- Take a thorough medical history: The healthcare provider will ask about your menstrual cycle, symptoms, and any other relevant medical information.
- Perform a physical examination: The healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms.
- Keep a symptom diary: You will be asked to keep a diary of your symptoms, including the timing and severity of each one, for at least two menstrual cycles.
- Rule out other conditions: Your healthcare provider will rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms, such as depression or anxiety.
- Meet the diagnostic criteria: Your healthcare provider will determine if your symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria for PMDD as outlined in the DSM-5.
How is PMDD treated?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medication. The exact treatment plan will depend on the severity of your symptoms and any other underlying medical conditions. Some common treatments for PMDD include:
- Antidepressants: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft) are effective in treating PMDD symptoms.
- Birth control pills: Hormonal birth control pills, such as those containing drospirenone and Ethinyl estradiol, can help to regulate hormones and reduce symptoms of PMDD.
- GnRH agonists: GnRH agonists, such as leuprolide (Lupron) can suppress ovulation and reduce the symptoms of PMDD.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help to enhance mood and lower stress levels.
- Stress management: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can help to reduce stress and improve mood.
- Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and maintain a regular sleep schedule.
- Diet: Eating a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to reduce symptoms of PMDD. Avoiding processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol can also be beneficial.
- Counseling: Talking to a therapist or counselor can help you to better understand and cope with your symptoms.
- Support groups: Becoming a member might give you a sense of belonging and understanding.
- When should I call my healthcare provider during PMDD?
It’s important to regularly check in with your healthcare provider if you have been diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) or if you are experiencing symptoms that you think may be related to PMDD.
You should call your healthcare provider if:
- Your symptoms are getting worse or are not responding to treatment.
- You are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
- Your symptoms prevent you from carrying out your regular everyday tasks.
- You are experiencing new symptoms that you haven’t had before.
- Do you notice any side effects from your medication?
- Do you have any questions or concerns about your condition or treatment?
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