The occurrence of Premenstrual Dysphoric Syndrome in fibromyalgia patients is not uncommon. While only 3% to 8% of women suffer from PMDD, the chances are much greater if you are already a fibromyalgia sufferer.
What Is Premenstrual Dysphoric Syndrome?
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is basically a more severe type of Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It includes many of the same symptoms. However, PMDD tends to be much more problematic.
Women who suffer from PMDD may find it hard to function. The pain may even make it difficult to handle work and home life responsibilities. There is no known cause of PMDD. However, doctors believe that it may be connected to hormonal changes. Genetics may be another risk factor.
So how do you know if you suffer from PMDD and not PMS? The symptoms of PMDD tend to present themselves one to two weeks before your period.
What Are the Symptoms of PMDD?
PMDD in fibromyalgia patients can be incredibly severe. As fibromyalgia patients already experience widespread pain and aches, they may be more sensitive to the typical PMDD symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
Muscle and joint aches or pains are also very common symptoms for women who suffer from PMDD. While many of these symptoms are also experienced with PMS, they are often more extreme when you suffer from PMDD. The extreme pain and discomfort that you experience may also lead to additional symptoms. Women who suffer from PMDD are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.
How Is PMDD Linked to Fibromyalgia?
Both PMDD and fibromyalgia can cause severe pain. When the symptoms coincide, patients may experience increased pain that becomes completely debilitating.
Several studies have attempted to make a connection between PMDD and fibromyalgia, including a study published in the Gynecological Endocrinology journal. In this study, researchers evaluated 55 patients who suffer from PMDD and 52 healthy women. Out of the control group, no women showed signs of fibromyalgia. However, 20% of the PMDD patients suffered from the chronic pain syndrome.
The study suggests that women who suffer from PMDD are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. The researchers also concluded that the combination of symptoms can be incredibly severe when they occur at the same time. Besides the statistics showing a connection between the conditions, researchers categorize both issues as types of central sensitivity syndromes. These conditions both involve the sensitization of pain, which is called central sensitization.
How to Treat PMDD
There are both medical treatments and natural home remedies for dealing with PMDD in fibromyalgia patients.
If you visit your doctor to address your PMDD symptoms, he or she may place you on an antidepressant. Studies show that the antidepressants help alleviate some of the symptoms of PMDD.
Some doctors may also recommend hormone therapy. However, this has not been proven to be effective for treating PMDD. Hormone therapy is often used as a secondary measure.
Natural remedies may also be used and mostly involve simple lifestyle changes. For example, some women report experiencing fewer PMDD symptoms after increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids may help reduce depression, headaches, bloating, and breast tenderness.
While PMDD and fibromyalgia are both conditions without known causes or proven treatments, there are ways to address the symptoms. If you suffer from either condition, consider working with your doctor or gynecologist to develop a treatment plan.