· By Kristen Scott Ndiaye
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a genetic condition related to a woman’s menstrual cycle that affects approximately 2-10% of women in their reproductive years, according to the IAPMD (1). Women with PMDD experience severe mood and physical symptoms usually starting about one to two weeks before the start of their period each cycle (during the premenstrual, or luteal phase) with symptoms subsiding within a few days of starting their period (2).
Symptoms include (2):
- Marked affective lability (e.g., mood swings: feeling suddenly sad or tearful, or increased sensitivity to rejection).
- Marked irritability or anger or increased interpersonal conflicts.
- Marked depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness, or self-deprecating thoughts.
- Marked anxiety, tension, and/or feelings of being keyed up or on edge.
- Decreased interest in usual activities (e.g., work, school, friends, hobbies).
- Subjective difficulty in concentration (brain fog)
- Lethargy, extreme fatigue, or marked lack of energy.
- Marked change in appetite; overeating; or specific food cravings.
- Hypersomnia (oversleeping) or insomnia (trouble or inability to sleep)
- A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control.
- Physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of bloating or weight gain.
Far more severe than premenstrual syndrome (PMS), PMDD is a severe and chronic medical condition that needs attention and treatment. Without effective treatments, the fact is heartbreaking that an approximate 15% of women with PMDD will attempt suicide in her lifetime, according to the IAPMD (1). This is in part because for far too long women with the condition have lacked support or even medical validation.