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You May Know PMS, But Did You Know There’s A Disorder That’s Even Worse?



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Trigger warning: This article involves mentions of suicide and depression which some readers may find disturbing.

Most people know about Premenstrual Syndrome or more commonly known as PMS. However, PMS branches out into a condition called Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is similar but worse than PMS.

According to Medical News Today, 20-40% of women experience PMS but 3 to 8% of the affected women has PMS that is so severe that it affects their quality of life. This condition is known as PMDD.

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PMDD symptoms can disrupt one’s daily life and the individual’s mental wellbeing. The symptoms typically start during the luteal phase (after ovulation and before period) in the menstrual cycle. PMDD usually goes away after two to three days of menstruation.

According to the US Office on Women’s Health, the symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people
  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings or crying often
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Trouble thinking or focusing
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
  • Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

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A 2012 study done on 3,965 American women with PMDD has shown that women who experience PMDD are 70% more likely to have suicide ideations. In a report by Harvard University, it is said that 15% of women experiencing PMDD have attempted suicide.

It is unknown what causes PMDD and PMS. Researchers think that it may be due to the change in hormonal levels a woman experiences during the menstrual cycle and some females are more sensitive/susceptible to the changes. Others believe that it may be caused by genetics.

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Treatment for PMDD exists and it comes in several forms, they are:

  • Antidepressants (SSRIs) can help change serotonin levels in the brain
  • Birth control pills
  • Pain relievers that can help manage physical pain
  • Stress management

However, the first step to seeking treatment should always come from a proper diagnosis by your local health practitioner. Before meeting your health practitioner, you should record the symptoms that you experience day by day.

For illustration purposes only.

We know that what you’re going through is not easy and for most people, it may be unfathomable. However, you don’t need to keep it all to yourself as there are always people out there who will listen to you. They can be your friends, family members or Befrienders.

If you’re feeling lonely, in distress, in despair, or if you’re having suicidal thoughts, Befrienders is providing emotional support 24 hours a day. It’s never too late to reach out and talk to someone. It’s free and confidential and you can contact them on their hotline through this number: 03 – 7627 2929.


Also read: Survey: 77% of Malaysians Feel That They Are FORCED To Grow Up & Act Like Adults

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