Some women with depressive disorders experience severe premenstrual symptoms. However, there have been few studies in which premenstrual symptoms in women suffering from depressive disorders were assessed. In this study, we aimed to investigate premenstrual symptoms in women with depressive disorders using the premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) scale.
We administered questionnaires to 65 Japanese female outpatients who had been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder and to 303 healthy women as control subjects. The questionnaire consisted of items on demographics and the PMDD scale, which was modified from the premenstrual symptoms screening tool (PSST) developed by Steiner et al. (Arch Womens Ment Health 2003, 6:203-209).
Twenty-eight women (43.1%) with depressive disorder fulfilled certain items of the PMDD scale. These women are considered to have coexisting PMDD and a depressive disorder, or to have premenstrual exacerbation (PME) of a depressive disorder. On the other hand, 18 women (5.9%) in the control group were diagnosed as having PMDD. The depressive disorder group who fulfilled the PMDD criteria had more knowledge of the term premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and took more actions to attenuate premenstrual symptoms than the control group with PMDD.
Our findings demonstrated that the occurrence of severe premenstrual symptoms is much higher in women with depressive disorders than in healthy subjects. This is partially due to this group containing women with PME, but mainly due to it containing women with PMDD. The higher percentage of PMDD suggests similarity between PMDD and other depressive disorders. Furthermore, educating healthy Japanese women and women with depressive disorders about premenstrual symptoms and evidence-based treatment for them is necessary.