Women with recurrent and severe symptoms are diagnosed as having premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and if they suffer from severe affective symptoms, a diagnosis of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is made. The purpose of this study was to determine the association of work stress with PMS and PMDD.
Fifty-five female medical students in their internship program (ten 24-hour shifts per month) and 38 third-year female medical students without any shift duties were asked to participate in this study. A questionnaire was used to record demographic information and a self-report inventory was used to measure 13 symptoms relevant to PMS and PMDD according to DSM-IV criteria. All participants were asked to complete the inventory every night around midnight for those on shifts or before going to bed at home for 60 consecutive nights.
Out of 55 volunteers in the shift-work group, 31 (56%) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for PMS in contrast to 12 (32%) in the control group. The frequency of PMDD was 12 (22%) in the intern group and 5 (13%) in the control group. Twenty one students (55%) from the control group did not have PMS or PMDD, compared to 12 (22%) students from the shift workers. Decreased energy (70.9%) and irritability (65.4%) were the most frequent symptoms during the luteal phase in the shift-work group.
Work stress and an increase in responsibility may produce or exacerbate PMS. Self-help approaches to induce self-awareness, along with psychological and psychiatric interventions, may help susceptible women to overcome this cyclic condition in order to increase their productivity as well as their quality of life.
Premenstrual syndrome; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Work stress; Female; Medical students
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a debilitating cyclic disorder that is characterized by affective symptoms, including irritability, depression, and anxiety which arise in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and resolve soon after the onset of menses. Despite a prevalence of up to 8% in women of reproductive age, few studies have investigated the brain mechanisms that underlie this disorder.
We used positron emission tomography with [18F] fluorodeoxyglucose and self-report questionnaires to assess cerebral glucose metabolism and mood in 12 women with PMDD and 12 healthy comparison subjects in the follicular and late luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. The primary biological endpoint was incorporated regional cerebral radioactivity (scaled to the global mean) as an index of glucose metabolism. Relationships between regional brain activity and mood ratings were assessed. Blood samples were taken before each session for assay of plasma estradiol and progesterone concentrations.
There were no group differences in hormone levels in either the follicular or late luteal phase, but the groups differed in the effect of menstrual phase on cerebellar activity. Women with PMDD, but not comparison subjects, showed an increase in cerebellar activity (particularly in the right cerebellar vermis) from the follicular phase to the late luteal phase (p = 0.003). In the PMDD group, this increase in cerebellar activity was correlated with worsening of mood (p = 0.018).
These findings suggest that the midline cerebellar nuclei, which have been implicated in other mood disorders, also contribute to negative mood in PMDD.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder; premenstrual syndrome; positron emission tomography; fluorodeoxyglucose; cerebellum; neuroimaging
The inclusion of research diagnostic criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, recognizes the fact that some women have extremely distressing emotional and behavioural symptoms premenstrually. PMDD can be differentiated from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which presents with milder physical symptoms, headache, and more minor mood changes. In addition, PMDD can be differentiated from premenstrual magnification of physical or psychological symptoms of a concurrent psychiatric or medical disorder. As many as 75% of women with regular menstrual cycles experience some symptoms of PMS, according to epidemiologic surveys. PMDD is much less common; it affects only 3% to 8% of women in this group. The etiology of PMDD is largely unknown, but the current consensus is that normal ovarian function (rather than hormone imbalance) is the cyclical trigger for PMDD-related biochemical events within the central nervous system and other target organs. The serotonergic system is in a close reciprocal relation with the gonadal hormones and has been identified as the most plausible target for interventions. Thus, beyond conservative treatment options such as lifestyle and stress management, other non-antidepressant treatments, or the more extreme intervneitons that eliminate ovulation altogether, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are emerging as the most effective treatment option. Results from several randomized, placebo-controlled trials in women with PMDD have clearly demonstrated that SSRIs have excellent efficacy and minimal side effects. More recently, several preliminary studies indicate that intermittent (premenstrual only) treatment with selective SSRIs is equally effective in these women and, thus, may offer an attractive treatment option for a disorder that is itself intermittent.
Many women in their reproductive years experience some mood, behavioral. or physical symptoms in the week prior to menses. Variability exists in the level of symptom burden in that some women experience mild symptoms, whereas a small minority experience severe and debilitating symptoms. For an estimated 5%–8% of premenopausal women, work or social functioning are affected by severe premenstrual syndrome. Many women in this group meet diagnostic criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Among women who suffer from PMDD, mood and behavioral symptoms such as irritability, depressed mood, tension, and labile mood dominate. Somatic complaints, including breast tenderness and bloating, also can prove disruptive to women's overall functioning and quality of life. Recent evidence suggests that individual sensitivity to cyclical variations in levels of gonadal hormones may predispose certain women to experience these mood, behavioral, and somatic symptoms. Treatments include: antidepressants of the serotonin reuptake inhibitor class, taken intermittently or throughout the menstrual cycle; medications that suppress ovarian cyclicity; and newer oral contraceptives with novel progestins. (Harv Rev Psychiatry 2009;17:120–137.)
mood disorders; premenstrual dysphoric disorder; premenstrual syndrome
Relatively little is known about factors that influence the initial development of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), although these conditions are common in reproductive age women and are associated with substantial impairment. Previous studies have observed higher alcohol use in prevalent PMS/PMDD patients compared with controls, but it is unknown if drinking predisposes women to developing these disorders or is instead influenced by symptom experience.
To address this, we conducted a case-control study nested within the prospective Nurses' Health Study II (NHS2). Participants were a subset of women aged 27–44 and free from PMS at baseline (1991), including 1057 women who developed PMS over 10 years of follow-up, 762 of whom also met criteria consistent with PMDD, and 1968 control women. Alcohol use at various time periods, before and after onset of menstrual symptoms, was assessed by questionnaire.
Overall, alcohol use was not strongly associated with the incidence of PMS and probable PMDD. Relative risks (RR) for women with the highest cumulative alcohol use vs. never drinkers were 1.19 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.84-1.67) for PMS and 1.28 (95% CI 0.86-1.91) for PMDD, although results did suggest a positive relationship in leaner women (p trend = 0.002). Women who first used alcohol before age 18 had an RR of PMS of 1.26 (95% CI 0.91-1.75) compared with never drinkers; the comparable RR for PMDD was 1.35 (95% CI 0.93-1.98).
These findings suggest alcohol use is not strongly associated with the development of PMS and PMDD, although early age at first use and long-term use may minimally increase risk.
Although it’s been reported that women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) have increased negative mood, appetite (food cravings and food intake), alcohol intake and cognitive deficits premenstrually, few studies have examined these changes concurrently within the same group of women or compared to women without PMDD. Thus, to date, there is not a clear understanding of the full range of PMDD symptoms. The present study concurrently assessed mood and performance tasks in 29 normally cycling women (14 women who met DSM-IV criteria for PMDD and 15 women without PMDD). Women had a total of ten sessions: two practice sessions, 4 sessions during the follicular phase and 4 sessions during the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Each session, participants completed mood and food-related questionnaires, a motor coordination task, performed various cognitive tasks and ate lunch. There was a significant increase in dysphoric mood during the luteal phase in women with PMDD compared to their follicular phase and compared to Control women. Further, during the luteal phase, women with PMDD showed impaired performance on the Immediate and Delayed Word Recall Task, the Immediate and Delayed Digit Recall Task and the Digit Symbol Substitution Test compared to Control women. Women with PMDD, but not Control women, also showed increased desire for food items high in fat during the luteal phase compared to the follicular phase and correspondingly, women with PMDD consumed more calories during the luteal phase (mostly derived from fat) compared to the follicular phase. In summary, women with PMDD experience dysphoric mood, a greater desire and actual intake of certain foods and show impaired cognitive performance during the luteal phase. An altered serotonergic system in women with PMDD may be the underlying mechanism for the observed symptoms; correspondingly, treatment with specific serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) remains the preferred treatment at this time.
Cognitive Performance; Food; PMDD; Mood; Women
Most women of reproductive age have some physical discomfort or dysphoria in the weeks before menstruation. Symptoms are often mild, but can be severe enough to substantially affect daily activities. About 5–8% of women thus suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS); most of these women also meet criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Mood and behavioural symptoms, including irritability, tension, depressed mood, tearfulness, and mood swings, are the most distressing, but somatic complaints, such as breast tenderness and bloating, can also be problematic. We outline theories for the underlying causes of severe PMS, and describe two main methods of treating it: one targeting the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis, and the other targeting brain serotonergic synapses. Fluctuations in gonadal hormone levels trigger the symptoms, and thus interventions that abolish ovarian cyclicity, including long-acting analogues of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or oestradiol (administered as patches or implants), effectively reduce the symptoms, as can some oral contraceptives. The effectiveness of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, taken throughout the cycle or during luteal phases only, is also well established.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRIs) relieve irritability within days in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD); however, the effects on other affective symptoms in PMDD remain to be demonstrated.
We performed hourly ratings in women with PMDD to test the specificity of the therapeutic effects of SRIs and to determine whether the kinetics of these effects differ from those of the symptom offset accompanying menses. Twelve women with PMDD received fluoxetine (20 mg daily) during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Twelve other women with PMDD received no treatment. Outcome measures included a visual analogue scale completed hourly before and after either the start of SRIs or at menses-onset in the untreated women and the premenstrual tension syndrome (PMTS) scale completed daily. Data were analyzed by ANOVA-R.
Hourly VAS scores significantly improved after SRI in irritability as well as sadness, anxiety, and mood swings. Compared with the symptomatic pretreatment baseline, PMTS scores significantly improved on the second day after the start of SRI (p < .01). An identical time course of symptom improvement occurred after both SRI and menses-onset.
Conclusion and Discussion
These data document that the rapid response to SRI was not limited to irritability. The similar kinetics in the remission of PMDD after SRIs and after menses-onset suggest both a phenotype reflecting the relative capacity to rapidly change affective state, and a possible therapeutic mechanism by which SRIs recruit this endogenous capacity to change state, normally expressed around menses-onset in women with PMDD.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder; fluoxetine; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors; treatment response
Neuroticism has been linked to a functional polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), with short-allele carriers being overrepresented among high-scorers on neuroticism. Studies evaluating neuroticism-related personality traits in relation to the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism among patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and are lacking. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between PMDD and neuroticism-related personality traits, and secondly, to relate the personality trait scores of PMDD patients to experienced symptom severity and to the 5-HTTLPR short allele. Thirty PMDD patients and 55 asymptomatic healthy controls were included in the study. The Swedish Universities Scale of Personality was used to evaluate personality traits. Genotype analyses were available in 27 PMDD patients and 18 healthy controls. Women with PMDD displayed higher levels of neuroticism-related personality traits (psychic trait anxiety, somatic trait anxiety, embitterment, stress susceptibility and mistrust) than healthy controls, and these effects were most prominent in women with more severe luteal phase symptoms. Furthermore, PMDD patients with at least one copy of the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism scored higher on psychic trait anxiety and lack of assertiveness than PMDD patients who were homozygous for the long allele. PMDD patients who suffer from more severe luteal phase symptoms also display increased scores of neuroticism-related personality traits in comparison with healthy controls. Within the group of PMDD patients, differences in certain personality trait scores are associated with the short allele of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism.
Personality; Neuroticism; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Swedish universities scale of personality; 5-HTTPLPR
Premenstrual syndrome is a common disorder experienced by up to 50% of women during reproductive age. The prevalence of severe form of PMS (PMDD) is 3% to 8 %. Psychiatric disorders in PMS patients have resulted in significant morbidity and in some cases caused resistance to the treatment process.
Material and Method
390 participants (264 with PMS/PMDD, and 126 healthy students of University of Guilan) who completed the demographic questionnaire, daily symptom rating (DSR) and the checklist 90-revised (SCL-90-R) took part in this study. This study was conducted using a cross sectional method.
According to repeated measure variance, the mean scores of psychiatric symptoms (Depression, Anxiety, Aggression, Interpersonal sensitivity) in the PMS group were significantly higher than the healthy group (p< 0/05), and increase in severity of PMS from mild to severe was accompanied by increase in mean score of these subscales. There was a significant difference in mean score of depression, anxiety, aggression and interpersonal sensitivity between the 3rd and the 13th day of the cycle. Significant effect of the DSR grouping (PMS and Healthy group) and time interaction emerged in interpersonal sensitivity and aggression, significant effect on the DSR grouping (Mild, Moderate, Severer) and time interaction demonstrated in interpersonal sensitivity.
Patients with prospective confirmed PMDD seemed to suffer from psychiatric symptoms. Therefore, recognizing co-morbid psychiatric symptoms in patients with PMDD is of prime importance. All healthcare providers should be sensitive to mental status of women with PMS.
Premenstrual syndrome; Psychiatric symptoms; Severity of illness
Several forms of depression are unique to women because of their apparent association with changes in gonadal hormones, which in turn modulate neuroregulatory systems associated with mood and behavior. This review examines the evaluation and treatment of depression that occurs premenstrually, postpartum, or in the perimenopause on the basis of current literature. The serotonergic antidepressants consistently show efficacy for severe premenstrual syndromes (PMSs) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and are the first-line treatment for these disorders. The use of antidepressants for postpartum depression is compromised by concerns for effects in the infants of breast-feeding mothers, but increasing evidence suggests the relative safety of the antidepressant medications, and the risk calculation should be made on an individual basis. Estradiol may be effective for postpartum depression and for moderate-to-severe major depression in the perimenopause. In spite of its frequent use, progesterone is not effective for the mood and behavioral symptoms of PMS/PMDD, postpartum depression, or perimenopausal depressive symptoms.
depression; premenstrual syndrome; postpartum depression; perimenopause; antidepressant; estrogen; gonadal hormone; treatment
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) was included as a provisional diagnostic category in the appendices of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-III-R (then called late luteal phase dysphoric disorder) and remained as an appendix in DSM-IV. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence of PMDD using all four DSM-IV research diagnostic criteria in a representative sample of women of reproductive age in the United States.
Data were collected in the homes of women between the ages of 13 and 55 years in two urban and two rural sites using a random sampling procedure developed by the National Opinion Research Center. Women completed daily symptom questionnaires and provided urine specimens each day for two consecutive ovulatory menstrual cycles (ovulation was estimated for women taking oral contraceptives) and were screened for psychiatric disorders by trained interviewers. Symptoms were counted toward a diagnosis of PMDD if they worsened significantly during the late luteal week during two consecutive ovulatory menstrual cycles, occurred on days in which women reported marked interference with functioning, and were not due to another mental disorder.
In the final analysis, 1246 women who had had at least one menstrual cycle and were neither naturally nor surgically menopausal nor pregnant were selected. Of the women in the study, 1.3% met criteria for the diagnosis as defined in DSM-IV.
The prevalence of PMDD is considerably lower than DSM-IV estimates and all but one of the estimates obtained from previous studies when all DSM-IV diagnostic criteria are considered. We suggest a new process for diagnosing PMDD based on our findings.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; prevalence
To evaluate whether the stressor of perceived discrimination was associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and premenstrual symptoms among minority women. This study builds on previous research that found perceived discrimination was positively associated with other psychiatric illnesses.
Participants were 2718 Asian, Latina, and black premenopausal women aged 18–40 years who completed the World Mental Health Composite International Diagnostic Interview for the National Latino and Asian American Survey or the National Survey of American Life. Perceived discrimination was assessed with the Everyday Discrimination Scale. DSM-IV-based diagnostic algorithms generated a provisional lifetime diagnosis of PMDD.
Eighty-three percent of the participants reported experiencing discrimination (due to race, gender, age, height or weight, or other reasons) in their lifetimes. The frequency of perceived discrimination was positively associated with PMDD (odds ratio [OR] 1.08, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.10) and premenstrual symptoms (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.02-1.05), independent of demographic covariates and social desirability. Women reporting gender discrimination (OR 5.18, 95% CI 1.80-14.90), race discrimination (OR 4.14, 95% CI 1.54-11.11), and other forms of discrimination (OR 6.43, 95% CI 2.11-19.65) were significantly more likely than women without experiences of discrimination to have PMDD. Subtle discrimination was more strongly associated with PMDD (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01-1.23) than was blatant discrimination (OR 1.04, 95% CI 0.94-1.15).
This study is the first to demonstrate that perceived discrimination is associated with PMDD and premenstrual symptoms. These findings suggest that the prevalence of these conditions may be lessened by reducing discrimination in women's lives.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is estimated to affect 3%–8% of reproductive age women. Multiple therapeutic modalities have been evaluated with varying efficacy for the associated somatic and mood symptoms. The majority of older studies had shown that oral contraceptive pills (OCs) were most effective for the physical symptoms. However, newer OCs containing a novel progestin, drospirenone, have shown promise in alleviating both the somatic and affective/behavioral symptoms. This progestin, which is a derivative of spironolactone, has both antimineralocorticoid and antiandrogenic activity. A 24/4 formulation containing 20 μg of ethinyl estradiol has been found effective in randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trials utilizing established scales documenting symptoms associated with PMDD. Multiple studies have shown that drospirenone-containing OCs are safe without evidence of clinically adverse effects on carbohydrate metabolism, lipids, blood pressure, weight, serum potassium or increased thrombotic events compared to other low dose OCs. In addition, significant improvements have been demonstrated in acne, hirsutism, and fluid retention symptoms. Several open label studies demonstrated good patient compliance and reported satisfaction with the method. Because of the significant placebo effect demonstrated in the blinded placebo-controlled trials, additional large randomized placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm the efficacy of the drospirenone OCs in the treatment of PMDD. However, this OC formulation appears to be a promising therapeutic modality.
drospirenone; premenstrual dysphoric disorder; premenstrual syndrome; oral contraceptive pill
Clinically significant premenstrual symptoms are common among young women. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is characterized by emotional, behavioural and physical symptoms that consistently occur during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS. Individual variation in stress responsiveness may be involved in the pathophysiology of premenstrual symptoms. Preterm birth at very low birth weight (VLBW, < 1500g) has a multitude of consequences that extend to adult life, including altered stress responsiveness which could affect the prevalence of premenstrual symptoms.
In this cohort study, we compared 75 VLBW women with 95 women born at term (mean age 22.5). We used a standardized retrospective questionnaire assessing the presence and severity of a variety of symptoms before and after menses. The symptom scores were used both as continuous and as dichotomized variables, with cutoffs based on DSM-IV criteria for PMDD and ACOG criteria for PMS, except prospective daily ratings could not be used. We used multiple linear and logistic regression to adjust for confounders.
There was no difference in the continuous symptom score before menses (mean difference VLBW-term -18.3%, 95% confidence interval -37.9 to 7.5%) or after menses. The prevalence of premenstrual symptoms causing severe impairment to daily life was 13.3% for VLBW women and 14.7% for control women. For PMDD, it was 8.0% and 4.2%, and for PMS, 12.0% and 11.6%, respectively. These differences were not statistically significant (p > 0.1).
Our findings suggest that the severity of premenstrual symptoms and the prevalence of PMDD and PMS among young women born preterm at VLBW is not higher than among those born at term.
Five percent of menstruating women have severe premenstrual symptoms and impairment of functioning defined as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Clinically significant premenstrual symptoms occur in at least an additional 20% of menstruating women. The diagnosis of PMDD should be confirmed by prospective symptom charting over 2 menstrual cycles to confirm the timing of the symptoms and to rule out other diagnoses. The burden of illness of PMDD includes disruption of parenting and partner relationships and decreased productivity in work roles. In addition, women with PMDD have increased use of health care services such as clinician visits and increased use of prescription medications and over-the-counter preparations. The etiology of PMDD is multifactorial. In particular, dysregulation of the serotonin and allopregnanolone systems is implicated. Several effective treatment options exist, including serotonergic antidepressant medications and an oral contraceptive that contains ethinyl estradiol and drosperinone. In addition, other hormones that suppress ovulation, anxiolytics, cognitive therapy, chasteberry and calcium may be helpful.
premenstrual syndrome; contraceptives, oral; serotonin uptake inhibitors; treatment
Wake therapy improves mood in Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD), a depressive disorder in DSM-IV. We tested the hypothesis that the therapeutic effect of wake therapy in PMDD is mediated by altering sleep phase with melatonin secretion.
We measured plasma melatonin every 30 minutes (18:00 - 09:00 h) in 19 PMDD and 18 normal control (NC) women during mid follicular (MF) and late luteal (LL) menstrual cycle phases, and during LL interventions with early wake therapy (EWT) (sleep 03:00–07:00 h)(control condition) versus late wake therapy (LWT) (sleep 21:00-01:00 h)(active condition).
Melatonin offset was delayed and duration was longer in the symptomatic LL vs. asymptomatic MF phase in both NC and PMDD subjects. LWT, but not EWT, advanced offset and shortened duration vs. the LL baseline, although they improved mood equally. Later baseline LL morning melatonin offset was associated with more depressed mood in PMDD patients, and longer melatonin duration in the MF phase predicted greater mood improvement following LWT.
That LWT, but not EWT, advanced melatonin offset and shortened duration while they were equally effective in improving mood suggests that decreasing morning melatonin secretion is not necessary for the therapeutic effects of wake therapy in PMDD.
Sleep deprivation; circadian rhythms; affective disorders; reproduction
Women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) experience mood deterioration and altered circadian rhythms during the luteal phase (LP) of their menstrual cycles. Disturbed circadian rhythms may be involved in the development of clinical mood states, though this relationship is not fully characterized in PMDD. We therefore conducted an extensive chronobiological characterization of the melatonin rhythm in a small group of PMDD women and female controls. In this pilot study, participants included five women with PMDD and five age-matched controls with no evidence of menstrual-related mood disorders. Participants underwent two 24-hour laboratory visits, during the follicular phase (FP) and LP of the menstrual cycle, consisting of intensive physiological monitoring under “unmasked”, time-isolation conditions. Measures included visual analogue scale for mood, ovarian hormones, and 24-hour plasma melatonin. Mood significantly (P≤.03) worsened during LP in PMDD compared to FP and controls. Progesterone was significantly (P = .025) increased during LP compared to FP, with no between-group differences. Compared to controls, PMDD women had significantly (P<.05) decreased melatonin at circadian phases spanning the biological night during both menstrual phases and reduced amplitude of its circadian rhythm during LP. PMDD women also had reduced area under the curve of melatonin during LP compared to FP. PMDD women showed affected circadian melatonin rhythms, with reduced nocturnal secretion and amplitude during the symptomatic phase compared to controls. Despite our small sample size, these pilot findings support a role for disturbed circadian rhythms in affective disorders. Possible associations with disrupted serotonergic transmission are proposed.
Depressed patients show mood-congruent errors in the identification of emotion in facial expressions. Errors consist of impaired performance (recognition errors) and negative bias (seeing faces as sadder than they are). This abnormal processing may both reflect and contribute to the negative affective state. In this study, we administered an emotional recognition in facial expression task to women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) to determine whether processing errors similar to those in depression were present and whether they were confined to the luteal phase (i.e., state dependent).
The Facial Discrimination Task (FDT) was administered in the follicular and luteal phases to women with PMDD (n = 28) and asymptomatic controls (n = 27).
ANOVA with repeated measures identified significantly increased negative judgments (both performance errors and bias) in women with PMDD during the luteal phase (more neutral to sad misjudgments and higher negative bias index) as well as impaired “specificity” of judgments [an inability to discriminate neutral from emotional stimuli] (diagnosis by phase interactions, p <.05), findings similar to those observed in depression. No menstrual cycle effects were seen in controls, and no differences between patients and controls were seen on a control task (age assessment of pictured subjects).
The levels of significance obtained were modest and would not withstand correction for multiple comparisons.
Women with PMDD display a luteal phase-dependent impairment (negative bias) in the processing of non-verbal affective information. This negative bias may contribute to the generation of negative mood states during the luteal phase and could suggest the presence of dysfunction in those brain regions whose coordinated activity mediates the recognition of emotion in facial expression.
Increased sensitivity to light-induced melatonin suppression characterizes some, but not all, patients with bipolar illness or seasonal affective disorder. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), categorized as a depressive disorder in DSM-IV, have altered sensitivity to 200 lux light during mid-follicular (MF) and late-luteal (LL) menstrual cycle phases compared with normal control (NC) women. As an extension of a pilot study in which we administered 500 lux to 8 PMDD and 5 NC subjects, in the present study we administered 200 lux to 10 PMDD and 13 NC subjects during MF and LL menstrual cycle phases. We admitted subjects to the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) in dim light (< 50 lux) to dark (during sleep) conditions at 16:00 h where nurses inserted an intravenous catheter at 17:00 h and collected plasma samples for melatonin at 30-min intervals from 18:00 to 10:00 h, including between 00:00 and 01:00 h for baseline values, between 01:30 and 03:00 h during the 200 lux light exposure administered from 01:00-03:00 h, and at 03:30 and 04:00 h after the light exposure. Median % melatonin suppression was significantly greater in PMDD (30.8%) vs. NC (−0.2%) women (p = 0.040), and was significantly greater in PMDD in the MF (30.8%) than in the LL (−0.15%) phase (p = 0.047). Additionally, in the LL (but not the MF) phase, % suppression after 200 lux light was significantly positively correlated with serum estradiol level (p = 0.007) in PMDD patients, but not in NC subjects (p > .05).
light suppression; melatonin; menstrual cycle; depression; women
To examine dysregulation in biological measures associated with histories of abuse in women and whether women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) differ in their dysregulation.
Twenty-five women meeting prospective criteria for PMDD and 42 non-PMDD controls underwent structured interview to determine abuse histories and lifetime Axis I diagnoses, excluding those with current Axis I disorders or using medications.
Major Outcome Measures
Plasma cortisol and norepinephrine (NE), heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), and vascular resistance index (VRI) were assessed at rest and in response to mental stress.
A greater proportion of PMDD women had prior abuse compared with non-PMDD women. Regardless of PMDD status, all abused women had lower plasma NE and higher HRs and tended to have lower plasma cortisol at rest and during stress. Abused women also reported more severe daily emotional and physical symptoms. Greater VRI and BP at rest and during stress were seen only in PMDD women with abuse.
There is persistent dysregulation in stress-responsive systems in all abused women that cannot be accounted for by current psychiatric illness or medications, and PMDD women may be differentially more vulnerable to the impact of abuse on measures reflecting α-adrenergic receptor function.
premenstrual dysphoric disorder; abuse; stress; norepinephrine; cortisol
Ethnic minorities in America will achieve majority by 2042, and due to their younger age distribution, will represent the largest proportion of women at risk for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Research has not addressed ethnic minority women’s vulnerabilities to PMDD. The objective of this study was to examine the relationship between acculturation and PMDD.
An analysis of acculturation and PMDD among 3,856 English-speaking, pre-menopausal Asian, Latina, and Black women from the National Latino and Asian American Survey and the National Survey of American Life.
The lifetime prevalence of PMDD was 3.3%. Nativity status, duration of residence, and age at immigration were significantly associated with PMDD. Foreign-born women (OR=0.38; 95% Confidence Interval (CI)=0.21–0.68)and immigrants arriving to the US after age six (OR=0.33, 95% CI=0.18, 0.62) were less likely to have PMDD, compared to US-born women, and US-born women/immigrants who arrived before age six, respectively. The likelihood of PMDD increased as the duration of residence in the US lengthened.
The diagnosis of PMDD was provisional due to retrospective symptom reporting. Statements of causality could not be made because the study was cross-sectional.
A substantial percentage of ethnic minority women suffer from PMDD in their lifetimes. Exposure to American culture appeared to elevate ethnic minority women’s likelihood for PMDD. The stressors that are associated with ethnic minority life in America—discrimination, poverty, pressures to assimilate, etc.—may contribute to ethnic minority women’s vulnerability to PMDD, and clinicians should be sensitive to the special risks in this population.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder; acculturation; ethnic minority women
To systematically review evidence of the treatment benefits of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) for symptoms related to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
We conducted electronic database searches of MEDLINE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Embase, PsycINFO, and Cinahl through March 2007, and hand-searched reference lists and pertinent journals.
METHODS OF STUDY SELECTION
Studies included in the review were double-blind, randomized, controlled trials comparing an SSRI with placebo that reported a change in a validated score of premenstrual symptomatology. Studies had to report follow-up for any duration longer than one menstrual cycle among premenopausal women who met clinical diagnostic criteria for PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. From 2,132 citations identified, we pooled results from 29 studies (in 19 citations) using random-effects meta-analyses and present results as odds ratios (ORs).
TABULATION, INTEGRATION, AND RESULTS
Our metaanalysis, which included 2,964 women, demonstrates that SSRIs are effective for treating PMS and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (OR 0.40, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.31-0.51). Intermittent dosing regimens were found to be less effective (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.45-0.68) than continuous dosing regimens (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.18-0.42). No SSRI was demonstrably better than another. The choice of outcome measurement instrument was associated with effect size estimates. The overall effect size is smaller than reported previously.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors were found to be effective in treating premenstrual symptoms, with continuous dosing regimens favored for effectiveness.
Alterations in central nervous system response to menstrual cycle-related fluctuations in neuroactive steroids are thought to underlie the emergence of negative affect in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Such changes in the neuroendocrine milieu may lead to heightened arousal and response to stress in women with PMDD. Using the acoustic startle paradigm, we sought to determine whether women with PMDD have an accentuated physiologic response to a mildly aversive stimulus during the luteal compared to follicular phase. Further, we also examined the impact of visual affective stimuli on acoustic startle response (ASR) magnitude. During the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle, acoustic stimuli (103 dB) were delivered to 15 women with PMDD and 14 healthy menstruating women of similar age. After obtaining baseline ASR, the procedure was repeated when subjects viewed pleasant, neutral and unpleasant pictures. There was a significant group by menstrual cycle phase interaction for baseline ASR magnitude, which can be attributed to the heightened startle magnitude in women with PMDD compared to healthy women during the luteal relative to the follicular phase. The direction and degree to which picture viewing modulated the startle magnitude did not vary by group or menstrual cycle phase. These data suggest that menstrual cycle phase has a powerful modulatory effect on physiologic reactivity in women with PMDD but not in healthy women. Physiologic response to affective stimuli appears to be intact in women with PMDD across the menstrual cycle.
PMDD; startle; menstrual cycle; affect; valence; arousal
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often comorbid with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in women; however, it is unclear whether this relationship is driven by the trauma that may lead to PTSD or if PTSD is uniquely associated with PMDD. In this study, we examine trauma and PTSD as independent correlates of PMDD. Researchers conducted a cross-sectional, secondary data analysis of 3,968 female participants (aged 18–40) of the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys. Women who had a history of trauma with PTSD (odds ratio, OR= 8.14, 95% confidence interval, CI=3.56–18.58) or a history of trauma without PTSD (OR=2.84, 95% CI=1.26–6.42) were significantly more likely than women with no history of trauma to report PMDD. This graded relationship was also observed in association with premenstrual symptoms. Among trauma survivors, PTSD was independently associated with PMDD, although characteristics of participants’ trauma history partially accounted for this association. Our study demonstrated that trauma and PTSD were independently associated with PMDD and premenstrual symptoms. Clinicians should be aware that women who present with premenstrual symptomatology complaints may also have a history of trauma and PTSD that needs to be addressed. This pattern of comorbidity may complicate the treatment of both conditions.
Posttraumatic stress disorder; Trauma; Premenstrual dysphoric disorder; Epidemiology; Mental health