Whether you get it a little or a lot, you've definitely felt the effects of premenstrual syndrome -- or PMS, for short. But there's a small subset of the female population -- about 3 to 8%, as opposed to the 75% who suffer from PMS -- for whom PMS has evolved into something a little more serious: premenstrual dysphoric disorder, also referred to as PMDD. But what are the signs and symptoms of PMDD, and how do you know how to treat it, if you've got it? If you're wondering how you can help yourself with premenstrual dysphoric disorder, then here's what you need to know.
What Exactly Is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and How Does It Differ From Premenstrual Syndrome?
PMDD is your body's extreme reaction to your menstrual cycle. No one's quite sure why it affects some people and not others, or what exact processes in the body are responsible for it, but its effects are both severe and, at times, completely debilitating. This is the main difference between PMS and PMDD; while similar symptoms (see below) can present in both conditions, PMDD is much more intense and can easily end up damaging your personal relationships. PMS tends to be lighter and go away more quickly -- lasting for a few days before your period and a day or two into it, where PMDD can start a week or more before your cycle actually starts.
What Are The Signs of PMDD?
Bloating, tenderness in the breast area, and changes in your sleep cycle are just a few of the symptoms of PMDD. The large, defining symptoms, however are sudden emotional responses, including depression/sadness, anxiety, moodiness, and extreme, irrational anger. These emotional changes come on suddenly and last for an indefinite period of time, often rapidly cycling through several different and intense emotions. If you or others around you notice these sudden and intense mood swings, you may suffer from PMDD.
How Do You Treat PMDD?
Luckily, there are several treatments to stop your PMDD symptoms from being too intense or sporadic to deal with. Some common medications are antidepressants, hormonal birth control, and a variety of supplements (normally some combination of Vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium). If you dislike, are allergic to, or fear addiction to any or all of these medications, there are some natural treatments which can claim some success, such as milk thistle and St. John's Wort.
For more information, go to websites that specialize in information about PMDD.