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Severe Form of PMS May Have Roots in Stress

Do you get PMS? Think it might actually be PMDD? Talk it over on WebMD's Women's Health message board, moderated by Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP. continued...

One thing that does work in some women is antidepressant therapy.

Last year, Sarafem became the first prescription medication approved for the treatment of PMDD. Like Prozac, which shares the same active ingredient as Sarafem, it helps to correct an imbalance of serotonin, a chemical responsible for communication between nerves in the brain. Serotonin is thought to be involved in depression.

Sarafem has also been found to reduce some physical complaints of PMDD such as bloating.

More research and more public attention is good news for PMDD sufferers who haven't been given much hope for treatment until the last decade or so, says Jean Endicott, PhD.

"I think it's a relief for many women to know it is a recognized condition, that it has biological underpinnings, and that people are trying to find something that will work," says Endicott, director of the Premenstrual Evaluation Unit at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, in New York. "It's moved a long way certainly from the '80s when we had virtually nothing to offer women."

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