Serious PMDD (pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder) can be debilitating and painful. Help may be on the way thanks to some recent findings by researchers from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. PMDD is more severe than PMS and can really incapacitate a woman for several days out of the month. Physical symptoms can include palpitations, bloating, low energy. Emotional symptoms can include irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, sleepeing disturbances and difficulty focusing. UNC was given a $3 million grant for a 5-year study using YAZ, a low-dose (hormone) birth control pill.
Apparently it's the change in hormones and not the change in levels that triggers the depression aspect of PMDD in susceptible women. And these women seem to be especially sensitive to any hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle, so this continuous birth control therapy - which eliminates hormonal cycling - seems to be an excellent therapy option.
The trial will divide women into 3 groups - one will take 28 days of the birth control pills (no blanks) for 3 months; the second group will take the standard 21 days of pills and 7 days of blanks; the third group will be given a placebo. After 3 months the researchers will measure how much hormone cycling occured in the three groups and also progesterone metabolites, which are involved in mood and emotion regulation.
Currently SSRIs (anti-depressants) have helped about 40% of women with PMDD, leaving an awful lot of women in the cold, so to speak, in terms of managing their monthly unbearable condition. So the hope is that this research will offer a lot of women who either don't like the current treatments or get no relief from current treatments and new, easy option.
Published On: August 19, 2008