Most women having periods experience physical discomfort or adverse mood in the weeks just before menstruation. Symptoms are often mild, but can be severe enough to substantially interrupt daily activities, so there is an immediate difficulty with making the diagnosis properly, given such common symptoms. Almost 10% of women from the general population are now thought, using narrow diagnostic criteria, to experience severe Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).
A related problem is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) which focuses on mood, as opposed to physical symptoms. Irritability, tension, depressed mood, tearfulness, and mood swings, are the most distressing features of PMDD, but physical complaints, such as breast tenderness and bloating, are also often part of the picture.
It is thought that PMDD affects between three and eight women in every hundred.
Although PMS symptoms are common, it's easy for that fact to believe that expert opinion is not necessary, but this would be a grave mistake. PMS often has a complex mechanism of causality and, for example, there are possible links between PMS and sexual abuse, as well as with post-traumatic stress disorder, so it follows that careful evaluation is a necessity. Domestic violence domestic violence is another association. Another complicating factor with PMS is that coping strategies that may have become entrenched long before a doctor is consulted include abusing alcohol or illicit drugs.
The serotonin system is known to be implicated in the mechanism of PMS, and this is why drugs which act on this body system, including anti-depressants which focus on this neurotransmitter, are used effectively in treatment. Some patients are resistant to trying such medications, because they associate them with severe psychiatric disorder, but our experts are skilled in assisting with the wide variety of treatment options available, including various hormonal approaches.
Clinical Partners have a team of Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Psychotherapists who are experienced in the treatment of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and they will be able to offer full support and advice for you and your family.
By calling our Admissions Counsellor on 0203 326 9160 you will be able to talk in confidence about your situation and we can recommend a specialist to assist you.