Fri | Jul 3, 2020

Get to know Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Published:Thursday | June 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley

Cramps are normal for women during our special time of month. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all of us. Severe depression, irritability, and tension before and during the menses plague several women at this time. This is far from the norm. In fact, it's a health issue called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). And it's an issue we all need to learn about.

Dr. Tate is a gynaecologist at the Dunrobin Wellness and Medical Centre and she told Flair PMDD is a severe and extreme form of premenstrual syndrome. They both have similar symptoms but, PMDD causes extreme mood swings. These can ultimately disrupt your ability to function in your daily life namely work, school, and your social life, especially your relationships.

"Women with a family history of PMDD are at an increased risk of having it. Other risk factors include women who suffer from anxiety, smoke cigarettes, and have had previous traumatic events," the doctor explained.




Experts are yet to decipher the exact cause of PMDD, but Tate explained that hormonal changes that occur during the menses and genetics are factors that are surmised to be likely causes of the condition.

Also, claims have been made that alcohol or substance abuse, thyroid disorder, being overweight and lack of exercise contribute to PMDD. However, Tate denounced this.

"There is not much evidence to link these to PMDD. However, these conditions may have similar symptoms as PMDD, and as such, an overlap of symptoms. But your physician will be able to rule out other conditions as the cause of symptoms," she told Flair.




PMDD symptoms usually start manifesting two weeks before a woman's menses begin. The symptoms will improve and disappear by the end of the period.

These include both emotional and physical symptoms such as feelings of hopelessness, mood swings, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, suicidal feelings, breast tenderness, or swelling bloating, insomnia, and pain in the muscles and joints.




"The treatment options are varied and the same treatment won't work for everyone. Talking to a psychotherapist or gynaecologist about the symptoms and starting behavioural changes [is one option].

Antidepressants can be used for the emotional symptoms, which is sometimes given continuously or just about the time of the period. They may cause a range of side effects so it is not right for everyone," she explained.

Also, painkillers, combined contraceptives, GnRh analogue injections, and surgery are other options available for you.

A change in your lifestyle can also help to remedy premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Tate said that a healthy and balanced diet and exercise have been proven to be great potions that improve the symptoms.




"If you think you may have PMDD it is very important to speak to your gynaecologist as soon as possible. Make a record of all your symptoms as this will help your physician in making the diagnosis. Understand that PMDD is "not just your period" or "just premenstrual symptoms" and there is a valid reason to seek medical attention," she warned.