What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

The chronic and severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), dealt with by experts like Gynecologist in Lahore is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). While the exact cause of PMDD is not understood yet, it is postulated that hormone imbalance plays a major role in PMDD. Read on to know more about premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and how to deal with it: 

What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, seen in women of childbearing age, around the onset of period. PMDD is influenced by the hormonal changes that occur in the menstrual cycle of a woman. This condition is manageable with medicinal and non-medicinal measures, as recommended by healthcare providers.

What are the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

The symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder appear a week or so before the onset of menstruation, and end a few days thereafter. With PMDD, the symptoms are severe enough to interfere with the activities of daily living—including functioning at home and at work.  

The most common symptoms of PMDD are:

Psychological symptoms that present with lack of inhibition, irritability, anxiety, nervousness, difficulty sleeping, depression, changes in concentration, anger, confusion, poor self-esteem, paranoia, crying spells, severe fatigue, agitation and confusion.

Physical symptoms can range from gastrointestinal to skin problems with PMDD. Abdominal cramping, backache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation and bloating are common enough. Other physical symptoms include: itching and appearance of acne near the cycle. For pre-existing skin disorders, there is often inflammation and aggravation.

Women with PMDD also complain of appetite changes, food cravings, hot flashes and decreased libido. These symptoms mimic other medical conditions and are diagnosed only through proper workup by a healthcare provider.

Who is at risk of premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is common in 5 percent of women of childbearing age. Data shows that such women often have concurrent anxiety or depression, however, that is not always the case.

Other factors that put one at risk of PMDD, include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Alcohol and substance abuse
  • Obesity
  • Family history of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Lack of exercise
  • Women with history of postpartum depression
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Women with history of eating disorders

What is the management of premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder warrants proper diagnosis and treatment. The management of PMDD is aimed at minimizing the symptoms and offering relief to the patient.

Birth control pills relieve the symptoms by mimicking the natural hormones in the body. In some women, continuous administration of birth control pills helps to mitigate the symptoms.

Pain relievers like ibuprofen and aspirin are recommended for the symptoms of pain and physical discomfort. These drugs help to deal with backache, headache, breast tenderness and the menstrual cramps of PMDD.

Diuretics are useful for women who experience short-term weight gain due to fluid retention. They should only be used as per the advice of healthcare provider, in the recommended dosage.

Antidepressants and drugs like Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)­ are useful for dealing with depression and anxiety associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. These drugs can be given in continuous form, or just for the second half of the menstrual cycle.

Therapy can be used either in lieu of antidepressants, or with them. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps the patient deal with the debilitating anxiety and depression of PMDD.

What are the possible complications of premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

If not timely diagnosed and treated, premenstrual dysphoric disorder may interfere with the daily life of a woman. With every passing day as the period draws near, their symptoms may worsen and even trigger suicide ideation. The chances of suicidal attempts are higher in the second half of the menstrual cycle. This is why prompt management of PMDD by is Gynecologist in Karachi mandated for patients.

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