Do you have unpleasant, disturbing emotional and physical symptoms before your monthly menstrual periods? Do these symptoms disrupt your life and interfere with your usual activities and your relationships with others? Do the symptoms go away when your period begins or shortly thereafter only to return again before your next period?
What is PMDD?
Premenstrual dysphonic disorder or PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closely to the menstrual cycle. Symptoms occur regularly in the second half of the cycle and end when menstruation begins or shortly thereafter. PMDD is not just a new name for premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a condition that affects as many as 75% of menstruating women. It is, however, considered to be a very severe for of PMS that affects millions of menstruating women. Both PMDD and PMS share symptoms in common that include depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and moodiness. What sets PMDD apart is its severity. Women with PMDD find that it has a very disruptive effect on their lives.
“Premenstrual dysphonic disorder is a real biological condition for which women seek treatment--and for which effective treatment is available," says Jean Endicott, PhD, director of the premenstrual evaluation unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Eight years ago it was included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV). But many health professionals say PMDD does not exist, that it can be confused with other mental health disorders, such as depression. Psychologists in this camp contend women shouldn't have to be diagnosed with a mental illness in order for others to believe they are uncomfortable or unhappy or to get help and support.
“Women are supposed to be cheerleaders," she adds. "When a woman is anything but that, she and her family are quick to think something is wrong." Meanwhile, for women, the controversy can be frustrating and confusing. Those who experience severe premenstrual changes just want some relief.
PMDD is listed in the DSM-IV as a "depressive disorder not otherwise specified." The symptoms of PMDD are remarkably similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). PMDD symptoms include:
The difference between PMDD and MDD is that PMDD symptoms are cyclical, subsiding with onset of menses, points out Endicott. The DSM-IV also notes that some mood disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders and general medical conditions, such as thyroid and other endocrine disorders, migraine, anemia or various infections can be exacerbated during the premenstrual phase.
- Markedly depressed mood. A symptom of MDD is depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day.
- Decreased interest in usual activities. One criterion for MDD is markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all activities.
- Lethargy, fatigability or lack of energy. Similarly, patients with MDD have fatigue or loss of energy.
- Hypersomnia or insomnia--also symptoms of MDD.
Endicott and a panel of experts determined in 1999 that PMDD is a distinct clinical entity, based on studies they examined that suggested that PMDD sufferers have "normal functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, show biologic characteristics generally related to the serotonin system, and a genetic component unrelated to major depression."
Without the psychiatric-disorder classification, women who are truly suffering may be discounted. "Sometimes to receive the diagnosis is more helpful to women," Endicott states saying that many women whose lives are adversely affected by their premenstrual symptoms are relieved to find someone who knows what they are experiencing and takes them seriously. She thinks that the disbelief of PMDD belittles women and "increases the stigma of mental disorders--where problems with mood and behavior are the defining characteristics--and can discourage women from seeking help."
It's crucial not to jump to conclusions with patients. "If a woman tells you she has PMS or PMDD, health professionals should be supportive and shouldn't assume that it's just hormonal and nothing can be done about it."
Whether PMDD is a mental disorder or not, the most important thing is to give women who seek help validation. "Whatever they're experiencing, they're experiencing.”
What is the Difference Between PMS and PMDD?
The physical symptom list is identical for PMS and PMDD; while the emotional symptoms are similar, they are significantly more serious with PMDD. In PMDD, the criteria focus on the mood rather than the physical symptoms. With PMS, sadness or mild depression is not uncommon. With PMDD, however, significant depression and hopelessness may occur; in extreme cases, women may feel like killing themselves or others. Attributing suicidal or homicidal feelings to “its just PMS” is inappropriate; these feelings must be taken seriously as they are in anyone else and should be promptly brought to the attention of mental health professionals.
Women who have a history of depression are at increased risk for PMDD. Similarly, women who have had PMDD are at increased risk for depression after menopause. In simplest terms, the difference between PMS and PMDD can be likened to the difference between a mild headache and a migraine.
While many women experience premenstrual symptoms. Nearly half (45 percent) have never discussed PMS with their doctors. Even among women with strong or severe symptoms, more than one of four (27 percent) had never talked with their doctors about PMS, despite the fact that most in this group reported that the symptoms interfere with their daily activities.
When women are asked about their reluctance to seek medical treatment even though they had PMDD, nine out of 10 said they felt they could cope with their problems on their own and about one in four felt their doctors would not take their complaints seriously if they did bring it up.
Effective Alternative Treatment for PMDD
Premenstrual Herbal Formula
This herbal formula contains synergistic herbs chaste tree, wild yam, dandelion, bupleurum which act together to respond to hormonal changes, helping a woman with bloating, weight gain, cramps, irritability, depression and headaches, all which occur during the time between ovulation and the onset of menstruation, this is when a woman's biochemical balance is disturbed and altered hormonally allowing her to have heightened premenstrual symptoms.
Herbalists have worked with women for over 20 years in Europe and the United States to find what would give them the safest most effective relief. Only the purest most trusted sources of medicinal herbs are used and combined based on traditional uses of herbal therapy that subscribe to the most accepted use of herbal treatment known as "Synergism", herbalists have found that by combining unmanipulated, naturally occurring plants they can deliver relief without toxicity. Actually strengthening a woman’s own natural abilities to overcome hormonal induced difficulties.
Interestingly these herbs have been used for many years by indigenous people who found out by trial and error which plants had medicinal qualities to relieve symptoms women have suffered from when pharmaceuticals/synthetic compounds where not made.
Effective Alternative Treatment for PMDD
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Natural bioidentical progesterone provides significant relief from symptoms related to shifts in the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder have received significant relief from their symptoms when using this normalizing supplement.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is associated with this imbalance, as estrogen is the more dominant hormone and by providing the body with natural bioidentical progresterone it supports your body to find its own natural balance without subjecting a women to hormone suppression, like birth control.
ProSoothe herbal formula contains synergistic herbs chaste tree, wild yam, dandelion, bupleurum which act together to respond to hormonal changes, helping a woman with bloating, weight gain, cramps, irritablility, depression and headaches, all which occur during the time between ovulation and the onset of menstruation, this is when a woman's biochemical balance is disturbed and altered hormonally allowing her to have heightend premenstrual symptoms.
Herbalists have worked with women for over 20 years in Europe and the United States to find what would give them the safest most effective relief. Only the purest most trusted sources of natural herbs are used and put together based on traditional uses of herbal therapy that subscribe to the most accepted use of herbal treatment known as "Synergism", herbalists have found that by combining unmanipulated, naturally occuring plants they can deliver relief without toxicity. Actually strengthening a womans own natural abilities to overcome hormonal induced difficulties.
Interestingly, these herbs have been used for many years by indigenous people who found out by trial and error which plants had medicinal qualities to relieve symptoms prior to modern medical discovery.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder-Condition Treatments