It is that time of the month again when the only things on my mind are severe pain and hot water bags. Menstruation is something every female of all the mammal species needs to deal with once a month. Sometimes it feels like our gender got the shorter end of the stick when it comes to normal bodily functions.
As if writhing in pain while being a functional member of society was not enough, we also need to deal with hormonal changes which cause mood swings, irritability, cravings and bloating.
Chocolates help, most of the time anyway. Personally, Premenstrual Syndrome has become the dreaded period of time every month when I cannot comprehend whether I am having a genuine reaction to things that upset me or whether I am just hormonal and confused.
However, PMS is nothing in comparison to the women who go through PMDD. What is PMDD? Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is an actual mental illness that needs proper professional treatment and medical help.
It is unfortunate to be going through PMDD as it often gets swept into the same category of PMS as their symptoms are borderline similar but PMDD is worse and dealing with it needs much more care and attention than dealing with PMS does.
What Is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder(PMDD) is a more severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome(PMS). It is considered a health condition that can benefit from treatment with lifestyle changes and sometimes medication.
PMS causes headaches, bloating and breast tenderness a week or two before your periods whereas PMDD causes all the above including extreme irritability, severe fatigue, heart palpitations, coordination difficulties, fainting spells, severe anxiety, depressive thoughts and suicidal tendencies.
The symptoms improve a couple of days after your period starts but they can definitely interfere with your life.
The good news is that PMDD is not common at all. Only about 10% of all women experience PMDD. You might be more prone to it if you are already suffering from anxiety and depression or have a family medical history of PMDD and mood disorders.
PMDD involves a set of physical and psychological symptoms that affect daily life and cause severe harm to one’s mental well-being. It is a chronic condition that requires proper treatment when it occurs but a couple of lifestyle changes can definitely help one cope for a time being.
What Causes PMDD And How Does It Get Diagnosed?
Experts do not know what causes PMDD. Decreasing levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones before menstruation can trigger some symptoms, while the deficiency of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood, hunger and sleep, may also play a role.
As the symptoms of PMDD overlap with those of PMS, health care providers will perform a physical exam, obtain the medical history and order certain tests to rule out other conditions when making a diagnosis.
A symptom chart is also used in the process to determine any correlation between the symptoms and the menstrual cycle.
Read More: Watch: Not All Those Who Bleed Are Women, Other People May Menstruate Too
According to the Guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-V), for a PMDD diagnosis to be made, a patient must experience at least five symptoms, including at least one of the following, feelings of sadness or hopelessness, feelings of anxiety or tension, mood changes or increased sensitivity, feelings of anger or irritability
Other symptoms of PMDD can include apathy to routine activities, which may be associated with social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, changes in appetite, sleeping problems, excessive sleeping (hypersomnia) or insomnia and, but definitely not limited to, feeling overwhelmed or having a sense of a lack of control.
What Are The Steps You Can Take To Cope?
For a woman with PMDD, the symptoms are so severe that it becomes difficult to function or have a normal life. Medication and professional help for mental well-being should definitely be your first choices, however, if they are not working, you can try to undertake some natural methods to cope with the disorder.
Aromatherapy, meditation, a relaxing bath, a proper diet, change in menstrual products, incorporating dietary supplements in your daily life, herbal supplements, participating in yoga or any other form of exercise, acupuncture and the most important of all, a good sleep schedule which provides you with proper sleep are some methods you can try to cope with the disorder naturally.
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Sources: ClevelandClinic, HopkinsMedicine, MedicalNewsToday, Healthline +more
Meet The Blogger: Charlotte
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