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PMDD could be silently burdening your mental health before your period

Published on:4 August 2021, 12:00pm IST
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a more severe form of PMS that can cause extreme mood swings, suicidal feelings and utter despair.
Grace Bains
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PMDD
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) could be the reason your mental health suffers before your period. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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All women know that, apart from the bloating and fatigue, the mood often takes a hit before Aunt Flo makes the monthly visitation. So, if you’ve been feeling that PMSing makes you feel on the edge or irritable, then you’re not alone. No one can deny that the hormonal play that characterises the menstrual cycle doesn’t just affect us physically but also has tangible effects on our mental health. Technically, it is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder aka PMDD

There are certain instances when the mood shifts due to PMS are extremely severe and could be affecting your daily life. In this case, you might want to look into the more aggressive version of PMS which is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It affects about 10 per cent of women who are in their menstruating years.

The physical effects of PMDD include

  • Fatigue that may not allow you to complete your daily tasks
  • Headaches, or migraines
  • Pain in the joints
  • Pain in the breasts
PMDD
PMDD is the more severe form of PMS. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It is, however, the mental health effects of the premenstrual dysphoric disorder that can wreak havoc in your life, affecting both your personal and professional life. From extreme bouts of rage to suicidal thoughts, PMDD causes certain mood changes that need medical attention.

What could be causing premenstrual dysphoric disorder?

The conclusive cause behind the development of such a severe form of PMS is not yet known but it is believed that fluctuating hormones during the menstrual cycle are to be blamed. It is only normal for estrogen levels to drop and progesterone levels to rise post ovulation and before you begin your period. But, PMDD might make your body react in an abnormal way to this normal cycle. These hormonal changes often can trigger a deficiency in serotonin which is often called a happy hormone. Our body and brain need serotonin to stabilize mood, promote feelings of positivity and regulate appetite.

How to tell if you have PMDD?

What distinguishes PMDD from other mood disorders or simple PMS is the time at which the symptoms start and for how long one experiences them. These symptoms may begin as early as two weeks before you start your period and start to disappear only a few days after your period.

PMDD
Those who experience PMDD may also experience anger and depression Image courtesy: Shutterstock

According to John Hopkins Medicine, you should ideally sit up and take notice if you’ve been experiencing at least 5 of these symptoms over the course of a whole year:

  • Depressed mood, and in severe cases, feeling suicidal
  • Extreme anger and irritability, characterised by lashing out at people
  • Trouble concentrating on tasks to be done
  • Losing interest in things you generally enjoy
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Moodiness
  • Insomnia or the need to sleep more
  • Feeling easily overwhelmed

If you’ve been experiencing at least 5 of these things through your menstrual cycle, you must visit a doctor. PMDD is a chronic and serious condition that requires medical intervention to ease the symptoms.

It may seem hard to believe that our period can have such a severe effect on our mental health but you should not shy away from seeking help if you suspect you may have PMDD.

Grace Bains Grace Bains

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book.