What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)?
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a condition that is considered to be a form of PMS, however, it is much more severe.
- A great number of women experience PMS and its various physical and emotional symptoms ranging from bloating, mood changes, anxiety, fatigue, cramping and more, but a few cases can feel as if these symptoms are exponentially worse – these are usually cases of PMDD.
- In many cases, the severity of PMDD symptoms can actually be disabling, resulting in a disturbance in one’s ability to function as well as potential damage to one’s relationships.
- Keep in mind that it is not my goal to scare you or make you anxious about the condition but to simple share with you the facts about PMDD along with several remedies that a clinically-tested and highly useful for giving relief.
Symptoms of PMDD
Note that the following symptoms are “Premenstrual” – meaning they occur in the days prior to the onset of one’s period, however, they can last well into one’s period and sometimes even a few days beyond that.
- Severe mood swings
- Extreme irritability
- Anger (can be extreme)
- Tenderness of the breasts
- Hot flashes
- Feeling extremely down and hopeless
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling as though one is losing control
- Joint pain
- Panic attacks
- Weight gain
- Fluid retention
- Pelvic pain
- Overwhelming sadness, etc.
As you can see, there are many possible symptoms. It is important to note that one may not experience all of these symptoms at the same time. The way in which the condition presents tends to differ from person to person.
What Causes PMDD
- The exact cause is not known, however, there have been certain physiological changes associated with PMDD.
- For example, studies have linked low levels of a neurotransmitter known as Serotonin to PMDD.
- In addition to this, a large number of people who experience PMDD also have trouble with anxiety and depression – both of which are conditions associated with low levels of serotonin, although this is a bit debatable in the case of anxiety.
- What is known is that alterations in neurochemistry, possibly in relation to hormone changes, appear to play a role in this condition.
Shatavari (Asparagus Racemosus) is an Ayurvedic herb with numerous clinically-tested health benefits. Shatavari is very popular for improving fertility, increasing breast milk production, treating post-menopausal osteoporosis and reducing the symptoms of menopause.
When it comes to PMDD, in a clinical trial, Shatavari supplementation resulted in a 58% improvement in symptoms (see study).
Please note that this is an Ayurvedic herb that can have adverse effects if misused, therefore, one should use it under the supervision of an Ayurvedic doctor.
Chaste Tree (Vitex Agnus-castus) is a medicinal herb that has been extensively studied for its long list of health benefits for women. Its been found to be highly effective in treating various menstrual disorders, reducing mastalgia (breast pain), improving the symptoms of PMS, improving fertility, and increasing breast milk production.
When it comes to PMDD, in multiple clinical trials, Chaste Tree supplementation was found to be safe and highly effective for both PMDD and PMS (see study).
Make sure to use this herb with the supervision of a doctor as it may interact with other drugs.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort has become a very popular medicinal herb for treating depression. As I mentioned earlier, depression is associated with low levels of serotonin – something that PMDD also appears to be associated with. In most cases of depression, anti-depressant medications are prescribed. In various clinical trials, St. John’s Wort was found to be just as effective as anti-depressant medications in treating mild-to-moderate depression.
This would lead one to infer that St. John’s wort may also be useful in other conditions with a similar pathophysiology to that of depression, such as PMDD.
Unfortunately there have been no clinical trials done of this herb’s use in PMDD, however, in a case study, a doctor published their results of having a PMDD patient supplement with St. John’s Wort – this resulted in significant improvement (see case study).
St. John’s Wort can interfere with the absorption of certain medications and is known to have some mild side-effects. Always use it with proper supervision of a doctor.
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(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
by Dr. Nishal R.
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