A Breakdown of The PMDD Epidemic

PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a health problem that is similar to Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), however, is much more serious. According to Womenshealth, up to 5% of women of childbearing age are affected by PMDD, but some do not even know that this is what is happening to them.  

Since the symptoms of PMDD are similar to PMS, some women just brush it off as having extreme PMS, and do nothing about it. However, if it is not taken care of, it can continue to disrupt work and damage relationships that have been built with others and can potentially be dangerous to one’s mental health. Since so few people know what PMDD is, some are scared to come out about it because like most mental health issues, it still has a stigma attached to it.  

Symptoms include: severe fatigue, mood changes, including irritability, nervousness, depression, anxiety, emotional sensitivity and heart palpitations. 

Now, that is not to say that every female who experiences these are having PMDD, sometimes depression or other anxiety disorders can cause these symptoms. The process to diagnose PMDD can be complicated. It does require a doctor’s appointment. The doctors will do a physical exam, obtain a medical history and they may order different tests to rule out anything that isn’t PMDD before finally making the diagnosis.  

Guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5th Edition (DSM-V) require that the symptoms of PMDD be present for a minimum of two consecutive menstrual cycles before making a diagnosis of PMDD. Along with that, the symptoms must be present one week before the menstrual cycle starts, resolve after the start and within a few days of flow, and interfere with everyday life.  

There are a few forms of treatment that can be followed after the diagnosis has been made. Forms of treatment can include SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) antidepressants, or oral birth controls that effect ovulation. 



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