CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 30 (UPI) — A severe mood disorder — premenstrual dysphoric disorder — affects how women react to pain, U.S. researchers say.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine say 5 percent to 7 percent of all women of reproductive age have PMDD, but it is often misdiagnosed.
The study, published ahead of print in Biological Psychology, finds PMDD is biologically different and suggests physicians search for a specific diagnosis.
“PMDD is not garden-variety premenstrual symptoms,” study lead author Susan Girdler says in a statement. “PMDD causes severe impairment in quality of life, equivalent to post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder and panic disorder.”
Girdler and colleagues measured biological responses to stress and pain in women with chronic major depression and women with PMDD.
The researchers found depressed women have a heightened biological response to stress and release more stress hormones, but women with PMDD have blunted stress responses.
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