Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome that may include physical and psychological symptoms that usually resolve with the onset of menstruation.

Maybe once, twice, or never? You might have heard or seen a friend or even yourself suffer from severe bloatedness, nausea, tiredness, severe mood swings, severe depression, or extreme irritability. PMDD is not far from the term used to qualify these symptoms, especially if it happens on some days or weeks before the beginning of another menstrual cycle.

Menstruation has to do with the rise and fall in the sexual and reproductive hormonal levels of a woman. While research is yet uncertain about this serious hormonal disruption as PMDD by extension, is severe PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome). However, they are likened to menstrual disorders. PMDD may cause severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two weeks before your period. Symptoms usually are expected to wear off between two to three days after your period starts.

Does PMDD affect every woman? No, PMDD affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age, and some with PMDD may also have anxiety or depression, as indicated by scientific findings.

Researchers over the years are yet to know what causes PMDD or PMS, but for a surety, hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle may play a role. A brain chemical called serotonin, which changes in level throughout the menstrual phase, may also play a role in PMDD. Some women may be more sensitive to these changes than others, which explains why some may experience PMDD, and others won't.

Here are the common symptoms of PMDD:

  • Lasting irritability or anger
  • Sadness or despair, or even suicidal tendencies
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings or crying often
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Lack of focus
  • Tiredness
  • Binge eating
  • Insomnia
  • Physical symptoms may include cramps, bloatedness, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain.

The severity of this condition may vary for different women but can only be diagnosed through health history and physical examination. If you have experienced these symptoms up to five times or more, you are likely to be diagnosed with PMDD. Also, you can keep a track record of symptoms to help with diagnosis.

PMDD, like other menstrual syndromes, can be treated effectively after diagnosis. The drugs may include Anti-depressants, analgesics, and birth control pills.

Making healthy choices, such as eating a healthy combination of foods across the food groups, and cutting down on salt and carbonated foods while getting exercise may also help relieve some PMDD symptoms.

Even though PMDD can be critical for some women, discussing with a Nurse or Doctor the most reliable treatment options might save the day. Do you suspect that you are suffering from PMDD? If you do, you should visit the hospital.

Take away: If by chance you give in to the thoughts of hurting yourself or others, call the hospital emergency line immediately. 

Till I write you again, take care!


Adaora Chinedu

Adaora Chinedu is a Writer, Registered Nurse. She finds value in Volunteering for jobs that cater to health and well-being.

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