Test to detect pre-menstrual syndrome

December 21, 2012

Even though there are many women who do not notice any special symptoms, there are some whose pre-menstrual disorders hamper their everyday lives: depressive mood, anxiety, excessive emotional sensitivity, fatigue, lack of concentration, headache, etc. Nevertheless, according to Leire Aperribai, PhD holder in Psychology from the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country, unified criteria for defining and diagnosing this disease have yet to be agreed on, "and so it is difficult to develop suitable interventions to treat women suffering from these symptoms."

Aperribai has sought to fill this gap through her PhD thesis. Her first task was to define the disorder, and to do this she took as her basis the 4th version of the of the .

This manual defines premenstrual dysphoric disorder and proposes criteria for diagnosing it. For example, it explains that the symptoms are sufficiently serious to cause clear damage, socially as well as in the workplace, and points out that this takes place during the luteal phase, in other words, during the period between and menstruation. The manual also explains that the symptoms disappear at the onset of menstruation, and for it to be regarded as a disorder, it is necessary to display at least 5 symptoms related to it, and one of them has to be among the following: depressive mood, feelings of desperation or self-rejection; clear internal anxiety, tension, a feeling of not being able to take any more; clear emotional lability, in other words, sadness, bursting into tears or manifestations of emotional over-sensitiveness towards rejection by other people; and irascibility or .

In Aperribai's view, the manual gives a special identity to premenstual dysphoric disorder, despite the fact that it is still classified among those described as "non-specific depressive disorders," so it constitutes a firm proposal as it takes the main groups of symptoms into consideration. Aperribai also added that among the current classifications, this is the one that has been most welcomed.

Reliable and useful

So, taking as the starting point the definitions and criteria provided by the manual, Aperribai has produced a set of questions and has validated them through interviews given by women who are either working or studying on any of the UPV/EHU's three campuses. And this way she has verified its reliability. In fact, and in accordance with current calculations, premenstrual dysphoric disorder is suffered by between 3% and 10% of the population; in the study done by Aperribai, by contrast, it has been found to affect 15%.

The author has explained that this difference is "normal because it concerns test screening. In other words, this is not a diagnostic tool, but a filter to distinguish those who suffer from the disorder from those who do not." In this respect, she has stressed its usefulness, both in the area of research and in health centres. It takes 10 minutes or less to do the test and a lot of progress can be made with it. After that, diagnostic tests are carried out in positive cases and these can take up to two months.

The title of the thesis is "An Evaluation of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: building a screening tool" (Una evaluación del Trastorno Disfórico Premenstrual: construcción de una herramienta de screening). The test is currently being translated into Basque: "We've done one part, but there is still quite a way to go," she says.

Explore further: Severe PMS may last longer than thought

Related Stories

Severe PMS may last longer than thought

March 5, 2012
(HealthDay) -- For years, women with the severe form of premenstrual syndrome known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) were told that their symptoms should subside the day menstruation begins.

Formal recognition of PMDD will lift stigma for women

May 24, 2012
A decision to recognise premenstrual dysphoric disorder as a genuine psychiatric condition will finally provide “validation for this awful and poorly understood” syndrome and alleviate the stigma attached to it, ...

Order of psychiatric diagnoses may influence how clinicians identify symptoms

November 28, 2012
The diagnostic system used by many mental health practitioners in the United States—known as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—assumes that symptoms of two disorders that occur at the same time ...

Recommended for you

Talking to yourself can help you control stressful emotions

July 26, 2017
The simple act of silently talking to yourself in the third person during stressful times may help you control emotions without any additional mental effort than what you would use for first-person self-talk – the way people ...

Heart rate study tests emotional impact of Shakespeare

July 26, 2017
In a world where on-screen violence has become commonplace, Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company is turning to science to discover whether the playwright can still make our hearts race more than 400 years on.

Do all people experience similar near-death-experiences?

July 26, 2017
No one really knows what happens when we die, but many people have stories to tell about what they experienced while being close to death. People who have had a near-death-experience usually report very rich and detailed ...

Risk for bipolar disorder associated with faster aging

July 26, 2017
New King's College London research suggests that people with a family history of bipolar disorder may 'age' more rapidly than those without a history of the disease.

Visual clues we use during walking and when we use them

July 25, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—A trio of researchers with the University of Texas and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has discovered which phase of visual information processing during human walking is used most to guide the feet accurately. ...

Toddlers begin learning rules of reading, writing at very early age, study finds

July 25, 2017
Even the proudest of parents may struggle to find some semblance of meaning behind the seemingly random mish-mash of letters that often emerge from a toddler's first scribbled and scrawled attempts at putting words on paper.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.