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PMDD-causes, symptoms and diagnosis

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What is PMDD?

As a woman, you have probably heard of different types of menstrual syndromes. Pre Menstrual Syndrome or PMS is a common name and so many women know about it. However premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a different problem.

PMDD causes emotional and physical symptoms but the symptoms in this case are debilitating. These symptoms often interfere with the daily life by making work, school, social life and relationships difficult.

Who gets PMDD?

This is a problem that affects up to 5% of women of childbearing age. Many women who have this problem may also have anxiety or depression.

Causes

Even though many research has been done on the subject, the researchers are not yet sure what causes PMDD. Many believe that it is an abnormal reaction to hormone changes related to the menstrual cycle. Different studies have found a connection between PMDD and low levels of serotonin, which is a chemical in the brain necessary for transmitting nerve signals. Some brain cells use serotonin to control mood, sleep, at tension and pain.

Because of hormonal changes in the body, serotonin levels may degrees and that can cause PMDD symptoms.

Many women who suffer from PMDD also have other conditions like anxiety, severe depression and seasonal affective disorder. There may be some other factors which may also play a role in the development of this problem. Such factors include alcohol or substance abuse, thyroid disorders, being overweight, having a mother with a history of the disorder and lack of exercise.

Symptoms

The symptoms in this case are generally seen the week before the starting of the period and it can last until a few days after it begins. Whenever the symptoms appear, they are severe and debilitating. Some of the most common symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression or feelings of hopelessness
  • Intense anger and conflict with other people
  • Tension, anxiety, and irritability
  • Decreased interest in usual activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling out of control
  • Sleep problems
  • Cramps and bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Hot flashes

Diagnosis

If you find out that you have any of the classic symptoms of PMDD, you should immediately see your doctor. The doctor will review your medical history and will ask for a thorough exam. You may have to undergo some tests to find out about your emotional and mental state.

Before diagnosis, your doctor will ensure that the emotional problems like depression, panic disorder are not behind these symptoms. Once they rule out such possible problems, it will be easier to diagnose whether you have PMDD or not. There may be some other medical or of any political conditions like endometriosis, fibroids, menopause and hormonal problems may also cause this problem and so your doctor will also have to rule out them before diagnosing you.

Your doctor may diagnose you with PMDD if

  • you show at least five of the symptoms listed above
  • if the problem starts 7 to 10 days before your period
  • the problems go away shortly after you start bleeding

It is very important for you to see your doctor to find out whether you are suffering from this problem or not. You should not wait for a long time before seeing a doctor or taking the necessary steps to overcome this problem. It can make your daily life very difficult for you and so instead of waiting it to automatically go away, you need to take some steps immediately to manage it.

References

1. The PMDD Treatment Miracle
2. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
3. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)