Is it PMS or something else?
LaDan Goble, MD, is a psychiatry resident at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz.
Question: Around that time of the month, I experience significant anxiety and feel an overwhelming sense of sadness. Is this just PMS or could I have something more serious?
Answer: Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a common condition that up to 30 percent of women experience as part of a normal menstrual cycle. A more severe form of PMS called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is found in up to eight percent of women and may require more serious treatment.
Symptoms of PMS can vary among women and may include abdominal bloating, fatigue, breast tenderness, headaches, increased appetite, irritability, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and a depressed mood.
Additional symptoms such as feeling very sad, hopeless, tense, anxious, persistently angry or on edge may signal PMDD. A doctor can determine if PMDD is causing these symptoms by evaluating the patient’s history and her blood work, conducting a physical exam, and asking the patient to record symptoms during her cycle.
Numerous treatment options are available for women who suffer from PMS or PMDD. For PMS, a doctor may recommend regular exercise, relaxation techniques, vitamins and minerals. For the more serious PMDD, medication may be prescribed in addition to these treatments.
If you suspect you are suffering from PMS or PMDD, you should consult with your physician. In most cases, there are some simple measures that can improve your symptoms. But if the symptoms are causing you significant impairment, your physician can evaluate your condition and provide the necessary treatment.