Every month, women face the unpredictable changes in mood that accompany their menstrual cycles, but sometimes those changes are much more severe and even debilitating. In this case, what might simply be dismissed as PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is actually a diagnosable condition called PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). In the question of PMDD vs PMS, symptoms are typically the same, though PMDD takes them to a much higher degree. Most often, these symptoms begin at some point the week before the menstrual cycle starts and will usually show signs of decreasing within the first few days of a woman’s period.
Read The Signs
The most common symptoms of PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) include:
- Severe depression during period
- Extreme mood swings during period accompanied by crying
- Decreased levels of concentration
- Difficulty sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Feelings of hopelessness or sadness that may lead to suicidal thoughts
- Loss of interest in relationships
- Loss in interest in normal activities
- Feeling a loss of control
- Extreme levels of anger and irritability
- Uncontrollable eating
- Pain in the muscles or joints
- Tenderness in the breasts
The Trigger Effect
Unfortunately, what causes PMDD is unknown, though it has been linked to the changes that occur in a woman’s hormones during her period. A great number of women affected by PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) also have a history of severe depression and other emotional disorders including anxiety and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). PMDD also shows high levels of occurrence in women who are overweight, are inactive, have a mother who also suffers from PMDD, have thyroid issues, or have a history of substance abuse or alcoholism.
Find and Fix
Though most conditions related to urogynecology can be identified by a physical examination, proper diagnosis of PMDD can only be made once a urogynecologist has conducted a full physical with a female pelvic exam and other tests have been run including thyroid testing and psychological evaluation. Once it has been diagnosed, a physician will be more able to determine how to treat PMDD. PMDD treatment generally includes lifestyle modifications such as healthier eating, regular exercise, and changing sleeping habits. Some women may require the use of anti-depressants, birth control pills to stabilize their hormones, diuretics to reduce fluid retention, pain relievers, or nutritional supplements.
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