PMDD is characterized by severe, cyclical mood changes prior to menstruation, typically the worst 3-4 days before to the first day of menstruation and can last up to a week. In addition to the mood changes there are cognitive and physical symptoms as well. This disorder affects millions of women. Mood/behavioral symptoms include but are not limited to mood swings, irritability, crying spells, depressed mood, negative thinking, or anxiety. There may be loss of interest, low energy, changes in sleep and appetite. Physical symptoms include breast tenderness, bloating etc.
Women with PMDD notice that it affects their functioning at work, in social settings and in relationships. Because of the timing of these symptoms, it is thought that PMDD is associated with hormonal fluctuations among other things. There is ongoing research to determine the exact pathways through which hormonal fluctuations bring about these symptoms.
If these are some symptoms you are struggling with- there are effective treatments available for PMDD. Medications and psychotherapy both are effective treatments. In some situations intermittent dosing of medications during the symptomatic days is sufficient to get symptom relief. Some hormonal treatments have been shown to be effective as well. You don’t have to suffer through PMDD, ask your doctor for help.
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Dr Sayanti Bhattacharya