A more severe form of what is known as premenstrual syndrome is premenstrual dysphoric disorder. And this article covers some important aspects of this condition.
Most women are aware of the condition known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It is a name given to a group of symptoms which usually surface about two weeks before a woman has her monthly period. And these symptoms can affect the person physically, psychologically, and even in terms of her behavioral aspect. Now, when PMS becomes severe, it is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
However, it does not occur in all women with PMS, but in about 8%. It should be known that the symptoms that PMDD exhibits are no different to what occur in PMS, but that, the symptoms of the former condition tend to be more severe than those of the later. Also, women with a medical history of depression or postpartum depression, tend to be more susceptible to fall in the 8% mentioned above.
Symptoms and Causes
As mentioned, PMDD has the same set of symptoms that occur in case of PMS, but in an extreme manner. The most common ones of them include:
- Tenderness in breasts
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Poor concentration
- More sensitive towards petty issues
- Weight gain
- Acne outbreaks
- Digestive problems such as diarrhea or constipation
Apart from these symptoms, the ones which signal PMDD in a more specific way include:
- Increased aggression
- Feeling of being on the go or overwhelmed
- Irritable behavior that may last longer
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Tension and anxiety
These symptoms, when occur, due to PMDD, may become severe enough to cause turmoil in the affected person’s work life, social activities, and relationships.
Just as, it is in the case of PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder too is an idiopathic condition; meaning it does not have any known causes. However, the hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, may have a major contribution in its development. According to recent studies, serotonin (defined as a neurotransmitter involved in sleep, depression and memory) is linked to PMDD. It is believed that long-term changes in the levels of this neurotransmitter in the brain, may also cause or contribute to the occurrence of the PMDD symptoms.
The treatment does not cure the problem, but helps in keeping it suppressed by managing the symptoms, by preventing their occurrence or minimizing their number. And it cannot be warranted that a medicine that works for a woman, would work for the other.
# The most common class of medications that are prescribed to control the symptoms of this condition are antidepressants. One or several of them may be administered. According to the FDA, the drugs Sarafem, Paxil CR, and Zoloft are recommended for treating PMDD. With the help of these drugs, the person can treat her symptoms such as fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.
# The other important step in the treatment is associated with good nutrition. Items like salt, caffeine, refined sugar, and alcohol, are to be avoided. Supplements of calcium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, and magnesium are known to help reduce the severity of physical and psychological symptoms.
# Doctors may also suggest birth control pills. These medications help in ceasing ovulation, thus improving the stability of hormones. Progesterone or estrogen may also be recommended for the same. However, their efficacy has not been fully established.
# Symptoms like headaches, body ache, and cramping, may be helped with over-the-counter pain relievers.
# Regular exercises have always benefited in treating almost all kinds of medical conditions, and it is so, even in this case. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, even if it means a morning jog or an evening stroll. Moreover, an active body helps in keeping the mind less anxious or depressed.
Some Home Remedies
- Eat small but frequent meals
- Rich sources of complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains are known as PMS relief foods
- Foods rich in calcium help in reducing symptoms, and avoiding complications. If natural sources are not suitable, then supplements are recommended
- Caffeinated beverages, unlike what most people may believe, only worsen symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. So they must be avoided
- Limit the amount of fat in the diet, and watch out that your protein intake is not too much
- Get plenty of sleep
To conclude, women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, may also benefit by inculcating practices such as relaxation therapy, meditation, reflexology, and yoga. And seeking help from a therapist may also build skills to cope with situations arising due to this condition.