Most women are very familiar with PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome), it basically refers to the unpleasant psychological and hormonal changes women go through before their period. Some of the common symptoms of this are weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings etc. Studies show that 90% of the women experience at least one of these symptoms and about 50% suffer from several of these. It has been found that some women (5-8%) experience these symptoms more severely than others which has now been diagnosed as a condition called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).
There is no particular cause for this disorder as of yet. But recently, The US National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina found a gene that might be responsible for PMDD. It causes a brain component to react to the premenstrual cycle in an abnormal way. Estrogen is at its peak between the ages of 20-25 and as women get to their 30s and 40s, their cycle becomes irregular. This change in estrogen causes irrational behavioural changes or mood swings. Stress also impacts the menstrual cycle contributing further to the problem.
Symptoms of PMS and PMDD are very similar like headaches, bloatedness, fluid retention, anger, depression and so on. The only difference is that these symptoms worsen with PMDD sufferers. PMDD sufferers also have strong feelings of irritability, stress, anxiousness which may lead to arguments with loved ones. Suicidal tendencies are also commonly seen with PMDD sufferers.
Even though PMDD can happen at any age, the most common pattern is found between the women in their late 30s until menopause. A postnatal depressant can easily suffer from PMDD once their menstrual cycle returns. But once they reach menopause, PMDD fades away.
The average menstrual cycle is around 28 days. The symptoms of PMDD can start around the 21stday or four to ten days prior to your period. These symptoms subside once your menstrual bleeding begins.
These may be linked but depression and PMDD are completely different disorders. PMDD patients are pretty healthy mentally except for those few days before their period begins.
A lot of patients are desperate by the time they see a doctor. Keep a record of your cycle and your mood changes to see whether you might actually have PMDD. Go see a doctor and tell them about how you feel and get answers to all your queries regarding PMDD. PMDD is very normal, it can occur due to genes, family history or just circumstances. A doctor would be able to provide you the help you need so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re skeptical about having this disorder.
You should definitely see a doctor for any problems you have but here are some of the life changes you can incorporate in addition to that to lessen PMDD symptoms: