HAVE you been having certain identifiable episodes leading up to your period — depression, suicidal or self-harm thoughts? You may have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more serious form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMDD causes physical and emotional symptoms every menstrual cycle in the week or two before your period, and for some women is so debilitating that they have had to seek help.
Here is some information from the US-based Cleveland Clinic that can help you identify whether what you're facing is PMDD
How is it different from PMS?
PMS causes bloating, headaches, and breast tenderness. With PMDD, you might have PMS symptoms along with extreme irritability, anxiety, or depression. These symptoms improve within a few days after your period starts, but they can be severe enough to interfere with your life.
How common is this condition?
PMDD affects up to 10 per cent of women of reproductive age.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
Symptoms of PMDD vary by individual. They tend to appear a week or two before menstruation and go away within a few days of your period starting. In addition to PMS symptoms like cramping and bloating, you may have:
•Anger or irritability
•Feeling on edge, overwhelmed, or tense
•Anxiety and panic attacks
•Depression and suicidal thoughts
•Fatigue and low energy
•Food cravings, binge eating, or changes in appetite
For some people, symptoms of PMDD last until menopause.
What causes PMDD?
Experts don't know why some people get PMDD. Decreasing levels of oestrogen and progesterone hormones after ovulation and before menstruation may trigger symptoms. Serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood, hunger, and sleep, may also play a role. Serotonin levels, like hormone levels, change throughout your menstrual cycle.
What are the risk factors for PMDD?
You may be more prone to PMDD if you have:
•Anxiety or depression
•Family history of PMS, PMDD, or mood disorders
•Personal history of trauma, abuse, or other highly stressful events.
What are the complications of PMDD?
Untreated PMDD can lead to depression and, in severe cases, suicide. The disorder can cause severe emotional distress and negatively affect relationships and careers.
How is PMDD diagnosed?
Your health-care provider will take a medical history and evaluate your symptoms. You may need to track your symptoms through one or two menstrual cycles. To diagnose PMDD, your provider will look for five or more PMDD symptoms, including one mood-related symptom. Your provider will rule out or diagnose other conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or reproductive disorders.
How is PMDD treated?
Your health-care provider may recommend one or more of these treatments to help manage PMDD:
•Hormonal birth control pills
•Dietary changes, such as cutting back on certain foods and caffeine. Vitamins, such as B-6 and magnesium, may also reduce your symptoms.
•Over-the-counter pain medicines to ease cramps (dysmenorrhea), headaches, breast tenderness, and other physical symptoms.
•Regular exercise to improve mood.
•Stress management tools, such as deep breathing exercises and meditation.