What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a serious health issue and is common in around 10% of menstruating women. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is slightly different from premenstrual dysphoric disorder and is more severe than PMS. The ladies going through premenstrual dysphoric disorder tend to have PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, headaches, and bloating before ten to seven days of their period. As your period starts, the symptoms slowly and gradually go away.
PMDD can cause severe depression, mood changes, and anxiety, with some women also becoming suicidal. It is advisable to consult a doctor and relieve symptoms. Also, antidepressants and hormonal birth control pills can be helpful.
You are more inclined to PMDD if you have the below:
- Anxiety or depression;
- A family history of PMDD, PMS, or mood swings;
What causes PMDD?
Experts are still researching why women suffer from PMDD. Decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone hormone after the ovulating period and before the period cycle triggers the symptoms of PMDD. A brain chemical named, Serotonin regulates hunger, sleep, and mood and also plays an important role during your menstrual cycle. When a woman is menstruating, the serotonin levels can fluctuate.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
A woman experiences PMDD symptoms two weeks or a week before their period cycle and lowers down after her period starts. Along with PMS symptoms, you may also experience the below symptoms:
- Mood swings;
- Irritability or anger;
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Panic attacks and anxiety;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Mood swings;
- Low energy and fatigue;
- Binge eating and food cravings;
How is PMDD diagnosed?
To diagnose PMDD, the doctor will know your medical and family history and evaluate your symptoms. Also, the doctor will suggest tracking your symptoms before and after your menstrual cycles. To track your symptoms, list down all your symptoms in a diary or journal for two to three months. To distinguish between PMS and PMDD, your doctor will try to know five or more PMDD symptoms and one mood-related symptom.
What are the various treatments for PMDD?
PMDD is a manageable disorder. There are many treatments your doctor will recommend to manage PMDD. These are:
- Dietary changes: reducing salt intake, cutting down fatty foods, sugar food items, and caffeine;
- Antidepressants: Having these pills can help to balance the brain’s serotonin levels;
- Exercise for at least 30-60 minutes, it will help to regulate your mood;
- Stress management tools: Practice meditation, yoga, and pranayama;
- Over-the-counter pain killers- Swallow pain killers to reduce headaches, breast tenderness, cramps, and other symptoms;
- Take hormonal birth control pills containing Ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone;
- Anti-inflammatory medicines;
- Vitamin supplements for calcium, Vitamin B6, and magnesium;
In many women, the PMDD symptoms become severe with time and last till their menopause. In such cases, the woman has to undergo the treatment for a longer period than usual.
What are the complications of PMDD?
Younger women face PMDD symptoms more in comparison to older ones. It is mainly because of untreated PMDD. If PMDD is not diagnosed and treated at the right time, it can lead to severe emotional distress, serious mood complications, and suicidal thoughts. PMDD symptoms can also affect your careers and relationships adversely. An untreated PMDD should be diagnosed at the earliest as it can also worsen with age.
How to prevent PMDD?
If a woman is already suffering from anxiety or depression, it is necessary to treat the existing PMS before it becomes severe PMDD. PMDD depends on how your hormones work and is difficult to prevent. In that case, PMDD treatment can help to bring relief.
There are many natural treatments for PMDD. These are:
Aromatherapy helps to provide psychological and physical benefits. The fragrant plant oils help calm the symptoms of aromatherapy and deal with pain, sleep problems, and stress. The popular aroma oils for PMDD are lavender, neroli, chamomile, clary sage, rose, and geranium.
Practicing meditation helps reduce the symptoms of PMDD. Also, it helps to balance your depression and anxiety levels. Meditation helps to relax your symptoms both emotional and physical.
- Warm bath
Have a warm water bath before sleeping. It relaxes your body and promotes good sleep. Also, a warm bath can reduce your menstrual cramps. Enhance your night-time bath with relaxing music and soothing scent oils and candles.
- Regular Exercise & Yoga
Exercising for 4-5 days in week for 30-45 minutes can helps to reduce PMS symptoms. Exercising regularly reduces period pain and improves your mood. Once a week, practice strength training and aerobic activities.
Also, practice yoga once a week to improve physical function and menstrual pain, reduces your breast tenderness, cramps, and swelling, and alleviates your energy levels and mental health.
Insufficient sleep can lead to fatigue, increased period cramps, and also lower down your mood. To treat PMDD symptoms, inculcate the below lifestyle changes:
- have a sleep for 7-8 hours at night;
- avoid daytime naps;
- sleep and get up at the same time every day;
- limit alcohol and smoking; and
- limit the usage of TV and phone before an hour of sleep;
- Mindful Eating
Try to avoid junk food. Manage your PMDD symptoms with healthy eating and living. Also, drink water to reduce bloating. Also, reduce your sugar intake and replace it with natural foods having sugar.
What is the outlook for people with PMDD?
Consult a mental health specialist or join a support group to ease the PMDD symptoms. With proper treatment, most women can get relief from PMDD symptoms and enjoy life peacefully.
When should you consult a healthcare provider?
You should consult a mental health provider of you are experiencing the below:
- Suicidal thoughts or severe depression;
- Uncontrollable anger;
- Feeling of loss of control;
- Panic attacks and extreme anxiety;
- Thoughts of harming others or even yourself;
Frequently asked questions to ask your healthcare provider
If you are suffering from PMDD symptoms, ask the below questions to your doctor:
- What is PMDD?
- How did you get PMDD?
- What is the best treatment for PMDD and does any of the treatments have any side effects?
- Suggest some lifestyle changes that can manage the PMDD symptoms
- Are you at risk of suffering from severe depression or suicide?
- What is the solution if you feel more depressed?
Final note from TruHap
PMDD is a serious health issue and affects your life, career, and relationships adversely. If you are experiencing anxiety and depression or other PMDD symptoms, contact a mental health care centre immediately. TruHap have the best psychologist in Hyderabad. If you take proper treatment or medications, it can balance your serotonin or hormone levels, helping you to feel happier.
PMDD is not a condition to live with but it is a condition one should deal with!