Study Finds Women with Premenstrual Disorders Have Twice the Risk of Suicide

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Premenstrual disorders in women could double the risk of suicide, according to a study from Sweden.

It is estimated that around 480 periods occur during a woman’s lifetime. In the week before menstruation called a premenstrual period, many women experience physical symptoms such as headache, bloating, weight gain, fatigue, and insomnia, along with behavioral changes such as mood swings, anger, depression, and anxiety.

Around 3 in every 4 menstruating women may experience some form of premenstrual syndrome. When the symptoms become severe, the condition is called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMD).

PMD is caused by an abnormal reaction to normal hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle that results in a deficiency of serotonin, a natural substance in the brain that affects mood.

Earlier studies have identified a link between extreme PMD and increased risk of accidents. They are also known to elevate blood pressure levels, raising the risk of hypertension by 40%.

The latest study evaluated how PMD would affect the risk of suicide in Sweden’s women population. For this, the researchers examined 67,748 women who were diagnosed with PMD between 2001 and 2018. They then found that women with PMD are more likely to die from non-natural causes, and average twice at risk of death from suicide.

The average age of PMD diagnosis was 35.8. The researchers noted that women who received PMD diagnosis before the age of 25 had a higher rate of all-cause mortality and death from both suicides.

After an average follow-up of 6.2 years, 367 deaths were observed among women with PMDs and 1958 among women without PMDs. The overall death rate was found to be 8.4 per 10,000 person-years among women with PMDs, while the hazard ratio is 1.92 for suicide.

“The findings of this matched cohort study suggest that women with PMDs are not at increased risk of early death overall. However, the risk was elevated among young women and for death by suicide. This supports the importance of careful follow-up for young patients and highlights the need to develop suicide prevention strategies for all women with PMDs,” the researchers wrote in the study published in the Jama Network.

However, the study did not investigate the underlying reasons for the increased risk of suicide among women with PMDs. Therefore, more research is needed to identify the causes and develop strategies to reduce both the incidence and underlying reasons for suicides in women with PMDs.

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