PMDD stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and is a more severe form of PMS, premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms can be quite similar to those of premenstrual syndrome, except that the marked difference is that they can cause the sufferer disruption in various aspects of her life, such as work, relationships and leisure activities.
Causes of PMDD
Like PMS, a definitive cause of PMDD is not known. There is primarily agreement within the medical community that PMDD symptoms are elicited by the menstrual cycle’s hormonal fluctuations. Low levels of the brain chemical seratonin have been linked to PMDD in recent studies. This neurochemical helps to transmit nerve signals in the brain. Specific brain cells affected by seratonin are the ones controlling sleep, pain, attention and mood. Thus, it makes sense that fluctuations in seratonin levels can cause a woman to experience symptoms of PMDD. The disorder occurs in 2 to 10 percent of women who menstruate.
Common PMDD Symptoms
There are a wide array of symptoms attributed to PMDD. Some commonly experienced ones include a depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness and a decreased interested in activities normally enjoyed. There can be an overall increase in general mood swings, as well. In addition, feelings of anxiety, tension, anger and irritability often occur with PMDD. Sufferers also experience trouble concentrating, fatigue, feeling of overwhelm, sleep issues and changes in appetite. Physical problems also accompany premenstrual dysphoric disorder, such as headaches, joint and muscle pain, breast tenderness, bloating and swelling.
Diagnosis of PMDD
Our doctor is the best place to start if you feel like you may be dealing with PMDD. You’ll be given an exam, and your medical history will be assessed. A psychiatric evaluation can be part of the process. Mental health conditions, like depression and panic disorder, will need to be ruled out in order to make a definitive diagnosis. Also, it will need to be determined that physical issues aren’t playing a role in your symptoms. These four symptoms, along with one other from the above list, must be present for an official diagnosis to be given: mood swings, depressed mood, marked anger and anxiety. The symptoms need to show up within seven days prior to the onset of menstruation and dissipate within three days before it begins.
Treatment for PMDD
There are several ways to address PMDD that can help to reduce symptoms. Good nutrition is a start. Medications and supplements can also be given, both prescription and over-the-counter, to relieve symptoms.
Talk to our doctor at South Lake OB/GYN in Clermont if you feel you may be dealing with PMDD symptoms. There is no need to suffer in silence. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more.