Understanding Your PMDD
How to Treat Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Having premenstrual symptoms, such as lethargy and mood swings, can be taxing on your body and hard to cope with mentally. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a condition in which a woman's premenstrual symptoms severely impact her physical and mental well-being. It is generally considered to be an extreme version of PMS. While this condition needs more scientific study, the extreme depression, irritability, and lack of energy associated with PMDD do require care and treatment. Using a combination of at home treatments and medical care can typically minimize the symptoms enough so that PMDD has less of an impact on your life.
Treating PMDD at Home
Keep track of your symptoms.In order to treat PMDD at home, it's a good idea to know when the symptoms are occurring and how extreme they are. For example, try keeping a mood chart to gauge how your mood changes throughout the month. Write down how you are feeling every morning, noon, and night so that you can see how your mood changes. This will help you know when you will need to take extra good care of yourself.
- There are many apps, such as Flo, that can help you remember to take note of how you are feeling and find patterns in your symptoms.
- Keeping track of your symptoms will also help you discuss your problem with a doctor if you decide to get medical treatment.
Exercise regularly.In general, regular aerobic exercise can improve your mood and give you more energy. If you are suffering from PMDD, getting 30 minutes of daily exercise can minimize the symptoms you have that relate to low energy and an unstable mood.
- Yoga is a great exercise to do in order to minimize PMDD. It can release muscle tension and relax the mind, among other benefits.
Take a warm bath.Some PMDD symptoms can be relieved by relaxing your body and your mind. A warm bath can aid greatly in this type of relaxation, as it loosens the muscles and gives you some time to relax your mind.
- Make sure to pick a time to take your bath when you won't be interrupted.
- Try playing calming music while you are in the bath. This can aid in your relaxation and side track you from thinking about stressful things.
- Consider adding essential oils or scented bath products to your bath to add a pleasant scent that will relax you even further.
Try aromatherapy.Aromatherapy is a natural healing practice that entails inhaling the scents of essential oils. It can help treat PMDD by easing stress and anxiety and increasing relaxation. To try aromatherapy, add a few drops of an essential oil to your bath or buy an oil diffuser made specifically for essential oils. A diffuser will allow you to spread the essential oil scent throughout your home.
Take dietary supplements.There are some supplements you can take that will improve your mood and minimize the effects of PMDD. There have been studies that suggest taking supplements of calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and vitamin E have all helped people with PMDD. Discuss whether or not you should take one or more of these supplements with your doctor.
- If you decide to take calcium, take 1200 mg a day.
- Take less than 100 mg a day of vitamin B6. Taking more than that can be hazardous to your health.
- There is less scientific research done on the effectiveness of magnesium and vitamin E than on calcium and vitamin B6. If you decide to take magnesium, take 200-360 mg a day. Supplement your vitamin E with 400 IU a day.
Try treating your insomnia with light therapy.Insomnia is a common symptom of PMDD.If you think that your PMDD may be causing you to feel habitually sleepy or causing you to struggle to fall asleep, consider light therapy. Buy a special light box online or in stores and set it up near you for several hours each day. This light box simulates outdoor light, and the exposure to this light can help to improve your struggle with insomnia.
Limit your caffeine, sugar, and alcohol intake to minimize symptoms.Consuming caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can make you symptoms worse. Try making healthy choices and dietary changes if necessary, such as reducing sugar and increasing the intake of complex carbohydrates. Changes like these can make your symptoms less severe.
Try meditation and/or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT).Many symptoms of PMDD, such as anxiety and depression, can be treated effectively with MBCT and/or meditation. MBCT uses stress management techniques, such as meditation, to help people accept thoughts and feelings, as opposed to having an automatic negative reaction to them. Try MBCT and/or meditation if your mental PMDD symptoms are especially severe.
Getting Medical Care for PMDD
See a doctor if PMDD is negatively impacting your life.If you are having severe negative symptoms before your period, you should not just suffer through them. Make an appointment with your doctor so that at least some of the symptoms can be relieved.
- Symptoms associated with PMDD include depression, anxiety, mood swings, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, and insomnia.If any of these symptoms are impacting your life, such as not being able to motivate yourself to go to work, then you should seek out medical treatment.
- In most cases, you can see your primary care physician for treatment of PMDD. However, if they do not understand your condition, you may have to see a gynecologist or psychiatrist for proper treatment.
Take antidepressants.When your PMDD causes depression that impacts your life negatively, your doctor may suggest taking an antidepressant medication. These medications can help to minimize mood swings and allow you to function on a daily basis more easily.
- The type of antidepressants that work best for treating PMDD are called serotonin inhibitors. Common types of these antidepressants include citalopram (Celexa) and fluoxetine (Prozac).
- Some possible side effects you can experience from taking antidepressants include nausea, a reduced libido, and difficulty reaching orgasm.
- Discuss with your doctor whether you need to take these antidepressants every day or just during the periods when you suffer from PMDD. Serotonin inhibitors are generally taken daily, but some women, for example those with additional mood disorders, benefit from only taking them when experiencing severe symptoms.
Begin hormone treatments.In cases of severe PMDD your doctor may prescribe hormones to balance out the hormonal fluctuations you are experiencing. The most effective hormonal treatments for PMDD include oral contraceptives, estrogen, or Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. These hormonal treatments suppress your hormonal cycle and allow your hormones to stay relatively stable.
- If you are trying to get pregnant, these treatments will not work for you. Discuss other treatment options with your doctor.
- Side effects that can be caused by taking hormones include changes to your libido, bleeding between periods, nausea, and headaches.
Identifying the Symptoms of PMDD
Identify changes in mood.PMDD is usually characterized by extreme changes in mood right before your period. For the 1 to 2 weeks before your menses, you may be hyper sensitive or have extreme changes in your mood. Some symptoms to look for include:
- Fluctuations in mood
- Lack of motivation and energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Appetite and craving changes
- Changes in sleeping
Identify the physical symptoms of PMDD.In addition to the mental changes that PMDD brings on, it can be accompanied by severe symptoms that are traditionally associated with PMS. These include:
- Increased appetite
- Breast tenderness
- Muscle aches and pains
- Sleeping more
Assess whether the symptoms have a negative impact on your life.It can be difficult to determine the difference between PMS and PMDD. However, one of the main differences is that PMDD is so severe that it has a negative impact on your life. This could mean that you are emotionally unstable during this period and you get in fights with family or friends. It could mean that you are so depressed that you cannot motivate yourself to go to work or interact with family or friends. Whatever it is, it impacts your relationships and the stability of your life.
- You may need to discuss your condition with a medical professional in order to get an accurate assessment of how your condition impacts your life. A doctor or psychiatrist can ask you a variety of questions about your life and your condition that will shed light on whether you have this condition.
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