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Premenstrual study is the first of its kind

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By Fiona Reid
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Premenstrual study is the first of its kind

A FIRST-of-its-kind women’s health research initiative has been launched by academics at University of the West of Scotland, which has a campus in Dumfries.

They are examining the understudied but severe hormone-based mood disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

It is an acute form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which affects one in 20 women.

And it affects approximately 824,000 in the UK, and of those 72 percent will experience suicidal ideation, 50 percent will self-harm, and 33 percent will attempt suicide.

On average, it takes 12 years for people to receive a correct diagnosis.

Explaining more, Dr Lynsay Matthews, women’s health expert and academic in the School of Health and Life Sciences at UWS, said: “Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a severe mood disorder where people experience distressing and frightening psychological symptoms in the week or two before their period.

“While it affects one in 20 women, very few people know about it. This means that many may suffer for years without knowing why they feel the way they do, and may not get the help they need.

“PMDD can have a debilitating impact on everyday life, and may even affect relationships, education and employment.

“While many of the physical symptoms are the same as PMS, people with PMDD will experience far more severe psychological symptoms. These include mood swings, a feeling of hopelessness, anxiety, irritability, feeling overwhelmed and difficulty concentrating.

“Some people will first experience PMDD around the time their periods begin. But others may develop the condition later on, such as after pregnancy, or after they stop breastfeeding their child.

“The PMDD statistics are concerning – we hope our research agenda will shape the future of PMDD research and support across the UK.”

PMDD has been in the spotlight increasingly lately, following singer and social media star Dixie D’Amelio speaking out about her diagnosis and the condition featuring in a storyline on soap opera Emmerdale.

Lynsay and her research partner, Julie Riddell, from the University of Glasgow, have identified five key research priorities: the diagnosis and management of PMDD, the best approaches for psychological support, suicide and self-harm prevention, the impact of PMDD on life and support for hormonal ‘trigger’ events.

To find out more about the research go to www.uws.ac.uk/pmdd/

Annan and Eskdale

24th May

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