Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle can lead to a lot of negative physical and emotional symptoms that they must learn to cope with. Most women feel uncomfortable, anxious, sad or a variety of other things because of premenstrual syndrome or PMS as it commonly called. However, some women experience more severe symptoms that can lead to a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD.
People with PMDD experience a very extreme version of symptoms normally associated with PMS. About 3 to 8 percent of women who are of reproductive age struggle with PMDD. The problem is a hormonal condition that can affect the mood swings and physical and emotional responses that women have prior to their menstrual cycle.
PMDD in some cases can be dangerous because it can lead women to feel very severe depression and sometimes have suicidal thoughts. Their disorder can make it difficult for them to manage these symptoms because they are a physical reaction to dramatic changes in hormonal levels. PMDD can involve emotional symptoms but it is not a psychological problem, it is a hormonal problem.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is believed to be caused by women being intolerant to progesterone which can lead to a number of intense symptoms once their progesterone levels rise prior to their menstrual cycle. They may react to higher progesterone levels by having headaches, depression, loss of libido and other issues. These symptoms typically subside once their hormone levels return to normal but it becomes a continual problem that can interfere with their life during every cycle.
In fact, when doctors diagnosis someone with PMDD they usually look at a range of symptoms and how they impact a person’s daily living. Someone with mild symptoms of PMS can go about their normal routine with just a bit of discomfort, but someone with PMDD may be so impacted by their hormonal symptoms that they can’t function as they normally would. When someone is so depressed or in so much pain that they can’t go to work or even have thoughts of suicide then they are suffering from PMDD.
Women with PMDD can have issues like severe panic attacks, exhaustion, heart palpitations, dizziness, and serious bouts of depression. Unfortunately many physicians are not aware of the condition or simply view it as part of the spectrum of PMS symptoms. The reality is that PMDD is a serious issue that can make daily life very difficult for women struggling with their hormone changes.
Treating Issues with PMDD
For women that experience the more extreme symptoms of PMDD, especially suicidal thought it is important to seek treatment and help from a doctor. PMDD can be dangerous and painful so ask your doctor about what medical treatments they have available that are effective at treating the problem. There are often different options to explore until you find the right treatment that helps you manage and reduce your symptoms.
Physicians often prescribe medications such as antidepressants or SSRIs for people that are suffering from PMDD. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor can help people with PMDD because helps regulate the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Options like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa have proven to be effective for managing PMDD.
Although antidepressants can provide an immediate solution for issues with depression, the underlying cause of PMDD has to do with hormone levels. Doctors sometimes focus on suppressing progesterone which is the main hormone that leads to the development of symptoms. Hormone therapy can be helpful such as using estrogen patches or progesterone pessaries to help regulate hormone levels.
Some women may benefit from a combination of antidepressant and different kinds of hormone therapy to help manage their symptoms of PMDD. A physician can help determine what type of therapies would work best based on your symptoms. They may suggest different options such as contraceptive pills which can also help regulate extreme symptoms of PMS.
Even though PMS is something that most women simply learn to live with, more extreme symptoms are a sign that you may need treatment. If you find it hard to go to work or be in social situations because your symptoms are so extreme or you have panic attacks and suicidal thoughts then you may have PMDD. A doctor who is familiar with the condition and has had experience treating it can help provide an accurate diagnosis as well as determine treatment options.
If you are struggling with PMDD, then there is support available for you so that you can live a normal life and not be held back by extreme symptoms. Finding the right treatment plan for you can help minimize issues with PMDD so that you can get back on track and feel better mentally and physically on a regular basis.