Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, also referred to as PMDD, is a condition that leads to symptoms of very severe depression along with extreme tension and agitation prior to starting a monthly menstrual cycle. While symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS are shared by most women, PMDD is different and a much more complex condition.
For some women, the effects of this condition are over-the-top, making time before a menstrual cycle debilitating. Obviously, this makes it difficult to parent children, perform at work, focus while in school, and make daily decisions. It is important for women to know that rather than suffer from the effects of this female problem, there are treatment options that would make a world of difference.
To start, it is helpful to know about the causes and risk factors of this condition, as well as the most common symptoms experienced.
For starters, there is no known cause of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. However, experts believe that hormonal changes have a direct link. According to the latest statistics, this specific condition affects up to 8% of women still having menstrual cycles. One thing that has been determined is that symptoms tend to be more severe with younger women.
Several risk factors have also been identified to include the following:
o Heavy caffeine consumption
o Alcohol abuse
o Little or no exercise
o A mother with a history of the same condition
As far as symptoms, the majority are very similar to what women with PMS experience with the exception that for PMDD, the level of severity is much greater. Because of this, the disorder tends to cause issues that can be debilitating. Typically, one week prior to the start of a menstrual cycle, symptoms would begin but within a few days, intensity lessens.
The following are some of the symptoms that most women with this condition would have:
o Food cravings
o Anxiety / Tension
o Low interest in friends, family, and favorite pastimes
o Panic attacks
o Sense of being out of control
o Mood swings
o Bouts of crying
o Disrupted sleep
o Bouts of anger
o Tender breasts, abdominal bloating, muscle/joint pain, headaches
Before it would be possible to offer the right PMDD treatment, a woman must undergo specific testing so a firm diagnosis of this condition could be made. First, the medical expert would gather information about family history of female problems. From there, different physical examinations would be done to include a pelvic examination and possibly a breast exam. Remember, as part of diagnosing PMDD, a doctor would rule out other health risks.
Because Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder causes both physical and mental problems, most doctors would also recommend a psychiatric evaluation. Some women feel offended when this type of test is suggested but it actually plays a key role in the right diagnosis being made. Once a determination has been made, a safe and effective treatment would be devised.
As mentioned earlier, there are viable treatments for this female condition so instead of allowing the symptoms to control how a woman feels, it would be important to get appropriate help. Following are some of the treatments that have been proven to be highly successful:
o Well-balanced diet consisting of lean meats and poultry, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, low salt and sugar content, and no caffeine or alcohol
o Plenty of good sleep
o Minimum of 30 minutes exercise daily
For the more severe cases, PMDD treatment would include prescription medication would be an option. In this case, the preferred choices include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, also known as SSRIs. There is a long list of these antidepressant drugs but Prozac, Zoloft, Sarafem, Paxil, Lexapro, and Luvox are typically used.
It is also common to find medical professionals recommending supplements. Among the best are vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium. Finally, over-the-counter medication works great for reducing aches and pains associated with PMDD. Of course, for the right PMDD treatment to be determined, a woman should talk to a qualified professional who can order tests to make a firm diagnosis.