Last night I was seated in bed and skimming through TikTok and seeing memes and videos of ladies on their menses in bed, with dolls that represent their emotions, a red angry doll to show bad mood and blue happy face to show ‘I am happy’ after loved ones bring them goodies. I just thought to myself, “it must be nice!” but before I could let the thought go further, I took a moment to empathize with the ladies.
Menses are a natural part of being female. And this natural phenomenon is what some women dread because of how their emotions are all over the place and torture them, from the time of ovulation till the end of the period. We have heard of cramps, mood swings, ladies being overly emotional and irritability. We even came up with jokes when our friend’s male or female are irritable, we ask or conclude that they are on their menses. But this joke is not funny anymore.
BBC did a documentary, “My Periods make me suicidal” where around 4000 women shared about their struggles with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome “where women can fall into severe depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and feelings of being out of control”
PMDD symptoms must be present in the final week before the onset of menses, start to improve within a few days after the onset of menses, and become minimal or absent in the week post menses. The symptoms include.
• Sudden sadness.
• Depressed mood.
• Decreased interest in usual activities.
• Increased interpersonal skills and sensitivity to rejection.
• Suicidal thoughts.
• Changes in appetite and cravings.
• Easy fatigability/ marked lack of energy.
• Difficulties concentrating.
• Physical symptoms e.g. breast tenderness or swelling, joint or muscle pain, bloating sensation or weight gain.
There is no known exact cause of PMDD but research suggests that hormonal fluctuations which may cause a serotonin deficiency and a person’s sensitivity to estrogen and progesterone may have links too. Other factors may include stress and genetics.
Treatment of PMDD may include anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medication and oral contraceptives. Home care methods may include; not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and sleeping about 8 hours each night.