Most of women have heard of Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS for short. But there is a much severe form associated disorder called the Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder or PMDD. It affects an average of 5 percent of women of the reproductive age and is considered to be a chronic medical disorder that requires treatment.
There are several theories as to the causes of this Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, but the exact specific cause is yet unknown. More studies and research are needed to help the medical professionals understand this disorder better. Some women react abnormally to normal hormonal changes during each menstrual cycle. This normal changes that occur during each cycle are basically changes in estrogen and progesterone levels. This in turn causes the serotonin levels in the brain to decrease. Among the functions of serotonin is regulating emotion hence it's a mood regulator.
Some women are more susceptible to this Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder than others. It is thought that women of the following group are most at risk – women who have mood disorders, women who have suffered from post-postpartum depression and women who have a history of depression and women who has a family member who falls in any one of the above category.
To differentiate between depression and other menstrual conditions, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder symptoms are extremely severe that impairs their function acutely. Here is the list of common symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:
- Psychological symptoms include irritability, nervousness, anger, insomnia, lethargic, paranoia, crying spells. These will occur rather severely that the sufferer cannot function normally in her daily life.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, bloated feeling, backache and constipation.
- The sufferer would also see changes in her skin condition. There would be an outbreak of acne, cold sores or dermatitis. On top of this, edema would be seen. This would usually affect the leg, feet or ankles but it could also affect the whole body. Oliguria sets in – urine output might be minimal. The breast might feel full and painful.
- Vision might be hampered or conjunctivitis might set in. Other symptoms include muscle spasm, hot flashes, food cravings and painful menstruation.
These symptoms are also symptoms of other disorders, so consult your doctor for a complete diagnosis. Your physician would conduct physical and pelvic examination and obtain your medical history. They may also recommend a psychiatric evaluation which might require you to keep a diary of your symptoms for several months. This would help determine the timing, severity and duration of the symptoms. Diagnostics procedure for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are currently very limited.
There are three approaches commonly used to treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. The combination of approaches would vary depending on the personal feedback.
The first is medication – these include anti-depression, anti-anxiety, analgesic, diuretics as well as hormone drugs.
The second approach is psycho-behavioral modifications – these include exercise and relaxation techniques.
The final approach is through diet changes – these include vitamins and supplements, minerals as well as herbal preparations.