Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):

Is It All In Your Head?

Women around the globe know all too well the “side-effects” of having a monthly cycle. In fact, menstrual related difficulties are the number one reason for missed work days for women aged 16-40 in the US. Pre-menstrual symptoms can make it difficult to concentrate/focus, impair personal relationships and make you downright miserable for several days each month.

When these symptoms severely affect your quality of life and lead to feelings of depression, hopelessness and anxiety you may have an intense form of PMS called pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder. Women who suffer from PMDD often describe a debilitating emotional rollercoaster that starts on about day 14 of their cycle (ovulation) and lasts until they start their next menstrual cycle. Once the menstrual cycle starts, the symptoms dissipate and they feel back to their normal self again…until day 14 when it starts all over again. These symptoms are largely due to a hypersensitivity to the hormone progesterone which is the predominant hormone in the second half of the menstrual cycle.

Historically, providers have prescribed birth control pills to manage these symptoms but research has shown that this is not the best way to manage the psychological symptoms of PMDD. First line therapy is the use of anti-depressants such as SSRIs (Prozac, Zoloft, etc) which can effectively address the hormonal influences related to neurotransmitters and their role in mood stabilization. Moreover, women can also implement lifestyle measures such as:

  • Decreasing salt and sugar intake
  • Engaging in physical activity
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Use of multivitamins such as B-complex and Vitamin D

In addition, there are also natural remedies that can help alleviate these symptoms as well. Talking to a knowledgeable provider about your options can help you better manage your PMDD symptoms. You do not have live with these debilitating symptoms each month. Schedule a consultation to see how Dr. Brittain can help you begin to lay the foundation for good health!

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