Period pains: NHS give advice on helping cramps
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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, commonly referred to as PMDD, affects around 80,000 people in the UK. Sometimes the symptoms of this menstrual condition are so severe that sufferers have suicidal thoughts. Express.co.uk reveals the key differences between PMDD and typical period pain.
Around three in four people with periods experience PMS at one point or another, but PMDD is something different.
PMDD, which stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, american academy of hospice palliative medicine is a more severe form of PMS.
It’s a hormone-related disorder that can cause many emotional and physical symptoms every month during the week or two before you start your period.
There are similarities between PMS and PMDD, but PMDD is much more debilitating and life-changing.
The difference between Premenstrual dysphoric disorder and period pain
According to mental health charity Mind, PMDD makes PMS symptoms much worse and can have a serious impact on your life.
The site explains: “Experiencing PMDD can make it difficult to work, socialise and have healthy relationships. In some cases, it can also lead to suicidal thoughts.”
PMS alone does not do this and the symptoms are slightly different, impacting your mental and physical health much more than PMS would.
PMDD has recently been listed as a mental health problem in the DSM-5, one of the main manuals that doctors use to categorise and diagnose mental health problems, whereas PMS is not.
PMS symptoms are more include:
- mood swings
- feeling upset, anxious or irritable
- tiredness or trouble sleeping
- bloating or tummy pain
- breast tenderness
- spotty skin
- greasy hair
- changes in appetite and sex drive
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- mood swings
- feeling upset or tearful
- feeling angry or irritable
- feelings of anxiety
- feeling hopeless
- feelings of tension or being on edge
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling overwhelmed
- lack of energy
- less interest in activities you normally enjoy
- suicidal feelings
- breast tenderness or swelling
- pain in your muscles and joints
- feeling bloated
- changes in your appetite such as overeating or having specific food cravings
- sleep problems
- finding it hard to avoid or resolve conflicts with people around you
- becoming very upset if you feel that others are rejecting you
PMDD symptoms are typically only experienced for a week or two before your period starts.
The Mind site explains: “The symptoms follow your menstrual cycle, so you might find they start to get better when you get your period and will usually have disappeared by the time your period is finished.”
The exact causes of PMDD aren’t fully understood but it is thought that people with PMDD are very sensitive to the changes in hormone levels in their monthly menstrual cycle – this could be a genetic variation.
Alternatively, other research shows that PMDD might be connected to stressful and traumatic past events, but there’s no evidence to show how or why this is true.
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