Think you’re losing your mind each month?….You are not alone.
Because PMS tends to occur every month, it means that it can have a significant impact on a woman’s life, particularly if her symptoms are severe.
Symptoms such as fluid retention or acne, coupled with anxiety and or depression can result in a negative body image or lowered self esteem. Other symptoms such as forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, irritability, anxiety, tension and headaches can create seemingly impossible challenges out of normal daily routines. This is particularly true for women in executive roles, looking after small children or trying to find the balance between work and motherhood.
Certainly though, the symptoms of PMS seems to have the greatest impact on a woman’s interpersonal relationships. Symptoms such as anger, mood swings, irritability and oversensitivity can result in interpersonal conflicts. Women who experience severe symptoms each month commonly report feeling like they are a different person premenstrually.
You can imagine then, that if women themselves find the symptoms distressing, it can be even more disturbing for their partner, children, family, colleagues or friends who may not understand the sudden and extreme changes in attitude or behaviour.
Around 30% of women suffer from PMS, but a small percentage of women – around 3-9%, suffer from an extreme form of emotional PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD.
Women who suffer from PMDD experience symptoms of depression and mood that are so severe they impair a woman’s ability to function and carry out her normal daily activities including; work, study, social and interpersonal relations.
The emotional symptoms such as anger, mood swings and depression associated with PMDD are more pronounced than the physical symptoms seen with other types of PMS.
Treatments for PMDD should incorporate modification to lifestyle and diet. The GP or gynaecologist will often prescribe a hormonal medication to try and dampen symptoms. Women with severe symptoms may find they also benefit from an anti-depressant or from herbal supplements that help to reduce anxiety.
Some women with PMDD can become suicidal. So it’s really important to ensure there is emotional support available – professional support that is, from a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist, depending on the severity of depression.
In fact, adopting the support of a mental health care worker can be an extremely positive step for women with PMDD to them better understand the reasons behind their feelings and support them to make appropriate behaviour changes that could improve or save their personal relationships