Michele Petersen was just 25 years old when she started feeling bad in January last year. She had recently started a long distance relationship with her boyfriend. Every time they talked, she suddenly got angry and lost her patience. She was very offended by the little things her boyfriend said or did, finding even the most normal gestures ‘childish’ or ‘stupid’.
When Petersen looked back today, it was clear that what he had done was very against his character.
Moreover, these unexpected reactions were not only limited to her relationship, but also spread to other aspects of her life. For example, Petersen’s eyes filled with tears even when he was excitedly telling his boss something at work.
Then something important was the difference in detail. These intense feelings would appear on the same days each month. After realizing this, they created a calendar with her boyfriend and started marking the days when Petersen was irritable and feeling good.
After a few months, a logical picture began to emerge. Petersen said, “This situation period “I don’t remember when I started associating it with my cycle,” she said. “But it was a serious realization for me when I finally figured it out.”
Individuals with PMDD experience a sensitivity to normal fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone. This can trigger mood swings such as depression, anxiety, irritability and hypersensitivity to the environment. PMDD affects 5.5 percent of menstruating women.
The Washington Post newspaper published in the USA interviewed more than 70 people who said they had PMDD. Symptoms many observed included depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts in the days and weeks before their menstrual cycle. Some said they felt they had transformed into a completely different person. There were also those who said that they felt impatient and angry, and that they quarreled with people close to them, although they would not normally do so. Some people in more extreme cases stated that they mistakenly believed they had bipolar disorder or personality disorder.
A study authored by clinical psychologist Tory Eisenlohr-Moul at the University of Illinois Chicago in the USA revealed that 34 percent of people with PMDD had attempted suicide. The study also found that patients wait an average of 12 years and see at least 6 healthcare providers before receiving a correct PMDD diagnosis.
‘I ALMOST STARTED TO LIKE THE REGL PERIOD’
Most of the PMDD patients who shared their experiences with the newspaper talked about tiring processes such as visiting doctors and trying to control the symptoms with drugs.
for example new YorkNikki Wertheim, who lives in , told us that she started combining the tips in 2016 after sessions with a therapist. Wertheim,For a week or two I felt like I was really suicidal, and then it disappeared. In a session we did later, I realized that these feelings occur in connection with my menstrual cycle,” she said.
Others had not yet been diagnosed by a specialist, many self-diagnosed PMDD.
Morgan Chesley, 26, was one of them. Describing every 8 to 10 days before her period as “terrible”, Chesley said she felt out of control and aggressive, and suffered from panic attacks and suicidal thoughts.
“When my bleeding started and I was instantly relieved,” Chesley said. “It’s crazy that my heavy and painful period has become such a haven. I’m almost starting to like the physical discomfort of menstruation. Because that meant I got my life back.”
MAY ALSO AFFECT FAMILY MEMBERS
PMMD can be a painful journey not only for those with this problem, but also for their loved ones. As with many mental health disorders, family members and friends can feel helpless in the face of PMDD.
Marybeth Bohn, mother of Christina Bohn Rudd, who has PMDD-induced depression and anxiety, is one of them. Bohn said of her daughter, “Two weeks out of the month she would feel fine, the next two weeks would be ‘What happened to our daughter, where did she go?’ we used to think, ”she used the expressions.
After Rudd committed suicide at the age of 33 in November 2021, Bohn took it upon himself to raise awareness about the disease and devised three questions he called ‘Christina’s Questions’ that all doctors would always ask their menstruating patients:
1) When was the last time you had your period?
2) When is your next period?
3) What does PMS mean to you?
“These questions can save lives,” said Bohn. “They can reduce years of suffering and produce direct solutions.”
Research has revealed that women with PMDD may be at higher risk of having or developing other mental health disorders.
PMDD was officially recognized as a psychiatric disorder in 2013. However, the issue of whether this disorder should be included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, known as the DSM-5 for short, and published by the American Psychiatric Association, has caused a long debate. Because there were concerns that considering it a psychiatric disorder could ultimately harm women.
-So what are the distinguishing factors between PMS and PMDD?
How is a person diagnosed with PMDD?
-Why does PMDD occur?
-How is it treated?
Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist for hurriyet.com.tr readers to answer all these questions. prof. Dr. Yavuz Simsek and Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist Kiss. Dr. Hazel North of the Age we talked to…
IF IT AFFECTS SOCIAL LIFE…
Mentioning PMDD briefly, Şimşek made the definition of “a pathological picture in which the physical, emotional and behavioral changes that occur naturally in premenstrual women are at a level that disrupts the interaction of the person with the environment”.
Kuzey explained the difference between PMDD and PMS as follows:PMS does not affect women’s daily life much, if it affects social life, we can say that it is PMDD. Emotional tides, mental tension, sleep disorders, attention disorders, introversion, sensitivity to light and sound, increased appetite, anger outbursts, anxiety, craving, breast tenderness, headache, swelling in hands and feet, diarrhea, feeling of tiredness, gas, constipation, Skin problems such as hair loss and acne can be seen. In women with PMS, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, edema in the body and symptoms of PMDD may be similar but milder, that is, in a way that does not affect daily life.
MUST HAVE AT LEAST 5 SIGNS
The DSM-5 lists 11 important symptoms of PMDD as follows:
– Marked depressive mood; feeling hopeless, helpless
– Marked anxiety, feeling of being cornered
-Severe emotional crises
-Experiencing problems with people due to a constant state of anger and uneasiness
– Decreased interest in daily activities such as school and work
-Inability to concentrate
-Weakness, fatigue, decreased life energy
-Desire to consume some foods excessively, sugar crisis
-Difficulty sleeping or a constant urge to sleep
– Feeling of burnout
-Weight gain, breast swelling and tenderness, general feeling of swelling, muscle and joint pain
Şimşek said, “It is necessary to have at least five of these symptoms in order to be diagnosed.There should be no other previously diagnosed disease to explain these symptoms.” said.
Kuzey, on the other hand, said that the symptoms usually started two weeks before the period and underlined that the complaints should recur for at least 3 months and added: “Because it can be confused with some diseases. MFor example, depression in the patient can be confused with PMDD or likened to menopausal syndromes, irritable bowel syndrome. For this reason, it is necessary to make a good determination.”
IF THERE IS A MOTHER OR SISTER, THE POSSIBILITY IS INCREASE
Stating that PMDD is generally seen in women between the ages of 30-45, Kuzey said, “PMDD can also be seen due to vitamin deficiency, mineral deficiency, hormonal problems, low blood sugar and psychological reasons. However, the cause is still unknown,” and made some suggestions:
“Regular exercise, yoga, meditation and a healthy diet are recommended in cases of PMDD. It is also necessary to avoid fat, salt and simple carbohydrates, smoking and alcohol.”
Emphasizing the importance of genetic tendency, Şimşek said, “If the mother or sister has PMDD, it is more likely to occur” said.
Stating that PMDD is one of the intersection areas of gynecology and psychiatry, Şimşek said, “The main treatment is antidepressants. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, sometimes the obstetrician and sometimes the psychiatrist may play a heavier role in the follow-up and treatment. Birth control pills and psychotherapy are also used. methods,” he said.