Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Resources and Clinical Trials on Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is a serious form of Premestrual Syndrome (PMS) that affects approximately five per cent of women. In order to be diagnosed with PMDD, women must have depressive symptoms as well as at least four other symptoms such as appetite changes and cravings, insomnia or hypersomnia, anxiety, marked or persistent irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts, difficulty concentrating, breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscular pain, weight gain or a bloated feeling.
For women with PMDD, the premenstrual segment of the menstrual cycle is a nightmare. Much worse than simply the mild irritability and other symptoms commonly associated with PMS, PMDD is serious and disabling.
While the cause of PMDD is not fully understood, genetic and hormonal factors seem to play a role.
Several medical treatments and lifestyle changes are available to help ease the severity of PMDD symptoms. Because of the involvement of serotonin in the disorder, some of the most widely used antidepressants have proven effective at alleviating symptoms.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) such as paroxetine, fluoxetine, or sertraline have the best evidence when used intermittently for the 10 days or so before the menses. They do not have to be taken all month.
Non-medicinal treatments are also available and include cognitive behaviour therapy or light therapy for those with a seasonal component to their condition.
Lifestyle changes such as diet modification, aerobic exercise and stress management can also provide some relief. These have some, but not compelling evidence.