If you are someone who has a menstrual cycle and know and go through periods, then chances are that you’ve also experienced some form of PMS in your lifetime. Whether it’s bloating, acne, fatigue, headaches, breast tenderness or just general crankiness, people who get periods also get the side effects.
PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a much more severe and often debilitating version of PMS. While regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood swings and shifts. The extremity of these shift is such that it can actually disrupt your work life and damage your relationships with loved ones.
In both PMS and PMDD the symptoms usually show up 10 days before you start your periods and often continue into the first few days of your period as well. Both PMS and PMDD cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleeping and eating habits.
However PMDD, symptoms are much more extreme with at least one of the following symptoms becoming a trademark for the individual who suffers from PMDD. These symptoms are emotional manifestation of PMDD and include sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, tension, marked irritability, constant anger and extreme moodiness.
Till date the causes of PMDD aren’t clear and there is no clear way of knowing who it affects and why. The underlying depression and anxiety are common in both PMS and PMDD, so it may be possible that the hormonal changes that trigger a menstrual period worsen the symptoms of mood disorders.
While researchers don’t know the exact cause or science behind the occurrence of PMDD most agree that PMDD may be an abnormal reaction to hormone changes related to one’s menstrual cycle.
Recent studies have shown that there is in fact a connection between PMDD and low levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in your brain that helps transmit nerve signals. Certain brain cells that use serotonin also control mood, attention, sleep, and pain. Hormonal changes may cause a decrease in serotonin, leading to PMDD symptoms.
What all can be accounted for under PMDD symptoms?
As mentioned above, the symptoms of PMDD usually show up the week before you start your period and last until a few days after it begins. Most of the time they are severe and debilitating, and can keep you from daily activities.
- Mood swings
- Depression or feelings of hopelessness
- Intense anger and conflict with other people
- Tension, anxiety, and irritability
- Decreased interest in usual activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in appetite
- Feeling out of control
- Sleep problems
- Cramps and bloating
- Breast tenderness
- Joint or muscle pain
- Hot flashes
If you are someone who has any of the above symptoms, especially to the point that they are disrupting your life, you should see a doctor. The doctor will review your medical history as well as give you a thorough exam to gauge how you’re feeling and coping both emotionally and mentally.