Menstruation is a part of a woman’s life that it may as well have signified as a symbol of being a woman. However, asides from blood discharges from the vagina, there also comes other complications in having a woman’s monthly period.
Most women might have experienced some degree of physical and emotional discomfort several days before the actual menstruation begins. However, there are some women, which is about 5% who experience severe premenstrual symptoms that they cause significant mental distress and interferes with their daily life.
What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a condition wherein a woman becomes severely depressed, with symptoms of irritability and tension before menstruation. The main difference of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is that the symptoms of PMDD are more severe than those with premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
This might due to the hormonal changes and fluctuation during the monthly blood discharge, however, there are really some instances that it becomes extreme that it affects the mental health wellness. The patient with a PMDD may have her life be disrupted and affects her relationship towards everyone, she might even feel despair and sees life not worth living.
Actually, there is a number of percentages of 15% of women with a premenstrual dysphoric disorder that has attempted suicide. Fortunately, there are treatments available for this kind of condition.
What Causes PMDD?
Just like the causes of PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome, the causes of PMDD is also not known. However, there are thoughts about hormonal fluctuations as the reason for this disorder since the hormonal changes can cause a serotonin deficiency which plays a great role in woman’s moods. Serotonin is a substance which is naturally found in the brain and intestines which narrows the blood vessels and affects the mood and might cause physical symptoms.
Risk factor for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
While any woman can start to develop PMDD, there are also those women that are much more at risk in developing this condition due to these risk factors:
- A family history of PMS or PMDD
- Women who have a family history or personal history of mental health illnesses such as depression, postpartum disorders, and other mood disorders.
- Lifestyle such as cigarette smoking.
Hormone Therapy as Treatment
Progesterone supplementation is one of the most common premenstrual dysphoric treatments, yet there’s not enough studies to consistently find the evidence that a deficiency of this hormone will contribute to the disorder.
The hormone therapies that are currently available for treatment and that would do seem to work in PMDD are the considered treatments below since it acts by not countering hormonal abnormalities but rather, it interrupts the signaling in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal circuit that links brain and ovaries and regulates the reproductive cycle.
This type of contraceptive is frequently prescribed for PMDD patients since they regulate and stabilize the reproductive hormones. However, it is still not clear if they are effective since there are only a few who studied this for this purpose.
There is one exception in this type of oral contraceptive, and that is YAZ a contraceptive which was approved by the FDA in 2006 which is combined with an estrogen and drospirenone which have been demonstrated successfully through clinical trials and has made an effective drug for treating PMDD.
Another option for hormone therapy is the inhibition of ovulation with estrogen, wherein it can be delivered via a skin patch or a subcutaneous implant. The amount of dosage of estrogen depends on the situation, such as when estrogen tends to be higher than the prescribed for hormone therapy during menopause.
Note that when estrogen is prescribed, then it should be taking along with a progestogen to reduce the risk of having uterine cancer.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists suppress the hormonal cycle and are prescribed for endometriosis and infertility. This might also be helpful for women who have PMDD symptoms that may not have responded to other drugs.
There are many strategies as to why you treat PMS, thus, it may also be helpful in relieving the symptoms of PMDD. There are several common treatments of PMDD which includes antidepressants, birth control pills, regular exercise, stress management, vitamins, anti-inflammatory medicines. There are also some over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin so that it could be of help to symptoms such as a headache, backache, breast tenderness, and cramping.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder should not be taken lightly since it imposes a great threat to one’s mind and body. Thus, to help avoid this situation, might as well help yourself during menstruation period by having comfortable and light to the feeling menstruation cups such as daisy cup. So that it wouldn’t add up to your feelings of discomfort and stress.