At some point during her fertile life, every woman is going to want to throw in the towel. Dealing with her period is too much to ask.
It is too much pain, too much hassle, too much of everything. At other times she will be at the other end of spectrum, and dealing with her period will be a breeze. For some women, it will be more of the difficult uphill slog rather than the breeze.
For these unfortunate women, she will cry, “Oh, no Aunt Flow has come to pay her monthly visit. She has not even gotten here yet, and she has already has overstayed her welcome.”
This scenario is true of most women’s opinion of the premenstrual syndrome or PMS, even a mild case.
Those with the more severe cases called premenstrual dysphoric disorder will try to throw in the towel.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is an extreme and severe form of this common malady of PMS. It affects about three to eight percent of all women.
For the friends and family of a woman with premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD, they would also say that Aunt Flow has overstayed her welcome and she has not even got here yet.
To combat this malady, doctors and women presently have three major avenues to explore for treatment of the mental disease.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
In explaining why these three major avenues help treat this hormonal-based mental disease, it might be best to more thoroughly explain the disease itself.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder primarily goes beyond the mere crabbiness of premenstrual syndrome. Leading up to the woman’s period, she make act unusually erratic, going from angry shouting to full wails in rapid succession.
She will feel like she is out of control and try to overcompensate with food. She might even seem depressed for several days leading up to and including the first few days of her period.
Then a couple of days later after the worst part of her period is over, she is back to normal. However, everything is not back to normal.
Her friends and family know that the period of erratic behavior they just endured as much as she did will be right around the corner in a few more weeks.
This cycle of erratic emotional behavior and then relative calmness hits hard not only on the sufferer, but her friends and family as well.
Most of the treatments available at this moment in time try to remedy the symptoms not only for the woman butt for those closest to her as well.
These three major avenues a woman and her doctor may use right now to fight PMDD are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, birth control, and a healthy lifestyle.
Each of these can be used to reduce the symptoms by lifting the depressive feelings, regulating the menstrual cycle, and relieving stress.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Of the three avenues for relief that a doctor for a woman with PMDD can prescribe, the one that has shown the most promise so far is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors also known as SSRI’s.
An example of these SSRI’s would be Prozac and Zoloft. Both of these brand name drugs and their generics are primarily used as anti-depressants.
Given that many of the major symptoms of PMDD are also symptoms of depression, it makes sense that these would also prove effective with PMDD.
While they have proven effective in treating the worst stages of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, doctors are not certain exactly how they help with the disorder.
It has been shown that different parts of the brain are affected by PMDD than depression. In addition depression typically does not occur on a cyclic basis of every four weeks. Nor does it typically stop and start.
These facts demonstrate that there must be more to this mental illness than depression and anxiety.
The second major avenue a woman with PMDD and her doctor may explore to ease her symptoms is the use of birth control.
Due to the cyclic nature of PMDD and its much less oppressive cousin PMS, there is a great deal of evidence suggesting premenstrual dysphoric disorder also has a hormonal component.
Drugs used to regulate the menstrual cycle such as birth control pills can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
These pills try to even out the cycle to prevent conception. However, regulating the cycle, the symptoms of the worst part of the cycle can be managed better as result.
A better even cycle is easier both on the woman and those she loves. It is easier on her since she is not stressed out physically.
Those around her most are also relieved from some of the patience trying and worry inducing incidents associated with PMDD and less extreme PMS.
These drugs have shown some effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of PMDD by smoothing out the menstrual hormonal curve.
A third major avenue for doctors and patients with PMDD can explore is not a drug treatment at all.
This avenue is the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle in both food and fitness. These things can help to reduce the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder for a couple of reasons.
The first reason is that fitness reduces the stress a woman is under. In PMDD, the woman tends to stressed out to the point that she lashes out at her family and friends and even herself.
Having a fitness routine, she has a means to vent the stress constructively rather than lashing out at those closest to her. Exercise has also been show to relieve symptoms of depression.
Since the best drug therapy presently available for premenstrual dysphoric disorder is an anti-depressant, it would follow naturally that a natural anti-depressant like exercise would also fight PMDD effectively.
In addition, the fitter a woman is the easier overall her period is to endure. Over time this may then reduce the need for drugs with side effects even if they are minor ones.
A healthy lifestyle with regards to food is also a good treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder for several reasons.
First, healthy eating supports exercise by providing the fuel to perform. In this way, all the ways that exercise helps, food helps as well.
Second, you are what you eat. Eating the right things help make sure that that right things happen in a woman’s body at the right time.
Therefore, eating healthy foods will help to regulate the hormones as they come to their peak mixing just prior to her monthly period, right at the time premenstrual dysphoric disorder and premenstrual syndrome hit.
In addition practicing good food habits will help keep the woman who suffers from PMDD from binge eating and exasperating the issue.
Both of these options, food and exercise are good not only for those who suffer from PMDD, but from PMS as well. These options are also the healthy long term for the woman to be engaged in.
They make her feel better about herself all the time not just when the disorder strikes most heavily. Each of these options strengthens her for the fight and helps her to come out on top.
This strengthening makes ting easier for those around her as well. They are no longer convenient targets of tirades or unrelenting weeping sessions.
At some point, every woman is going to want to throw in the towel when it comes into her monthly period.
For some women and their loved ones, that feeling like throwing in the towel when Aunt Flow decides it is almost time to put in an appearance is a monthly occurrence. Throwing in the towel is not what they should do however.
Each of those women has viable options then can discuss with their doctors to overcome this regular battle.
For some, that relief from the struggle will be in the form of an anti-depressant. For others, relief comes through birth control. Still others fight the good fight with diet and exercise, venting the pain and confusion into sweat and grime.
Some women who suffer from PMDD will use more than one of these methods to overcome her disorder and be normal at all times of the month.
Some women will use all these methods to overcome. Others will find no relief at all from any of these. For these women not helped otherwise, researchers are still working on ways to help them.
In the meantime, the families and friends of the women who feel like throwing in the towel once a month will continue to support them as best as they can.
Each one of them will continuing to hope and pray for the one day we will one day understand all the ways the mind works.
When that day comes, PMDD will be more than merely treatable but curable. Then all women will know a period that felt like a breeze rather than an uphill slog.