Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a hormonal disorder of which little is known and whose symptoms may lead some women to commit suicide, warn medical specialists.
The symptoms of the disease are more intense than those suffered by almost any woman before her menstrual cycle, aggravated by an alteration of the neurotransmitters, explains José Manuel Hernández, coordinator of the psychiatry department of the Fray Antonio Alcalde Civil Hospital, in the Western state of Jalisco.
“When hormones are altered, neurotransmitters such as serotonin are also altered and we have symptoms such as very severe cramps or breast pain, but also sadness, loss of desire to do things, and this is cyclical, it is every month,” he adds. .
A woman with PMDD also experiences general swelling, fatigue, hypersensitivity, discouragement, sporadic crying, anxiety, sleep problems, lack of concentration and memory impairment, which prevent her from developing her daily activities and deteriorate her personal relationships.
A young woman from Guadalajara who prefers to hide her identity told Efe how she was told over and over again that the cramps and sadness she felt each month were normal, “women’s things”.
From day to day I felt that life had no meaning, that the pain I experienced “had no end.” In adolescence suicidal thoughts were recurrent. As an adult she started with anxiety and panic attacks that paralyzed her.
“No one understood what was going on,” he says. Some days she felt very good and others fatal, until she had an episode of panic that almost took her to end her life.
A few days later a gynecologist told her about the disorder for the first time and ordered thyroid and blood studies.
She herself looked for a psychiatrist, who confirmed the disease and prescribed antidepressants. “I was lucky to find them,” says the woman.
It is common for doctors to confuse symptoms with mental problems such as bipolar disorder, depression or even schizophrenia.
The difference is that a person with PMDD has such low moods for only a few days. If it goes on, then this is another problem, says Juan Cruz Diaz de Leon, one of the few Mexican specialists in that disorder.
“Up to 30% of women with the disorder have ever thought about suicide in their lives and this usually occurs four to seven days before the rule,” explains the gynecologist with studies by the American College of Gynecobs in the USA. UU.
Suicidal thoughts are “one of the most common symptoms prior to menstruation” in a woman with PMDD, says Judge Sámano, who has been suffering from this disorder for years and is the administrator of a Facebook help group.
“It’s dangerous because they turn into suicidal impulses.We know of women who end their life in those days because just about everything turns gray and you do not find options,” says Samanus, a doctor by profession and resident in Mexico City.
Sámano has helped save several women who are part of the group and who at some point expressed a real desire to take their own lives.
Her protocol includes contacting the family, neighbors and even the authorities to dissuade the woman from her intention.
The group brings together more than 2,000 women from Spain and Latin America, who share experiences, ask for help or advice, share articles on the subject or simply relieve their problems and their daily struggle.
Many of them consult gynecologists, psychologists and psychiatrists without any specialist being able to explain the reason for their cyclical discomforts, says Sámano.
Cruz Diaz de León accepts that the disease has been studied so little that there is no scientific certainty as to whether its origin is gynecological or neurological.
“We do not know what it is, much less how it originates,” says the gynecologist, adding that “there is no precise table to delimit the disease.”
Both Cruz Díaz de León and Hernández agree that the PMDD “is not curable,” but it is controllable.
“A woman has to learn to live with it. A good treatment reduces the symptomatology up to 80% in three months and offers psychotherapeutic tools to coexist with the disease,” concludes Hernánd