Most people who menstruate are likely aware of PMS or premenstrual syndrome – that time of the month before you get your period when you have mood swings, bloating, cramps and cravings. A lesser-known disorder is PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, and what makes awareness about it crucial is the serious ramifications it has on one’s mental and emotional health as well as relationships.
PMDD is characterized by significantly more emotional distress, crying spells, mood swings, and in extreme cases, feelings of depression and suicide. The symptoms can hit you up to two weeks prior to your menses and one of its most distinguishing characteristics is the dissipation of the symptoms as soon as you start your period.
TNM spoke to several people who have PMDD. Their experience reveals that it is not uncommon for friends, family and even doctors to brush aside symptoms of PMDD as PMS or just mood swings. This leads to many women suffering in silence, confusion and often guilt.
That being said, doctors are careful in diagnosing someone with PMDD. Due to the nature of its symptoms, it is important to rule out underlying mental or physical health issues that simply get exacerbated during the premenstrual period. For those who do live PMDD however, the disorder is not an individual experience. It causes significant strain on relationships by affecting a person’s emotional wellbeing, their sex life, and even their ability to do day to day tasks, including work.
While there is a lack of comprehensive data on PMDD in India, some research suggests that it affects about 3.7% of women in India – probably one of the reasons why it is not as well known. However, that makes awareness about this disorder even more crucial.
Women’s health and pain are often brushed aside as too dramatic. But if you think you have PMDD, it is essential to remember that the disorder is manageable with therapy and/or medication, and you can always seek help.