MUHC researchers studying treatment for PMDD, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, an extreme type of PMS


A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the MUHC is investigating a possible treatment for an extreme type of PMS known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder — PMDD. Symptoms of PMDD include depression, irritability, inability to cope socially, and breast tenderness that some women experience just prior to getting their period.

"Approximately 5% of women suffer from PMDD," says Dr. Lucy Gilbert, one of the principal investigators in the multi-centre PMDD study, which is being conducted at sites across Canada and the US. "These are busy women, with jobs, families and numerous other responsibilities. PMDD disrupts their quality of life and impairs their day-to-day functioning.

"We believe that taking a daily low dose of a common oral contraceptive may help to alleviate the symptoms of this disorder and improve the quality of life of these women," adds Dr. Gilbert, who is also a gynecological oncologist at the MUHC and has a keen interest in the female hormonal system.

As she explains, "It is neither hormone deficiencies nor excessive hormones that cause the symptoms of PMS, but rather fluctuations in the levels of hormones — namely estrogen and progesterone."

The research team, consisting of gynecologists, psychologists and psychiatrists, hope that their findings will show that by maintaining a steady level of these hormones in the brain, they will see a more uniform and improved mood in patients who suffer from PMDD.

Anyone who would like to participate in this study, or who wishes to learn more about PMDD, should contact:
Dr. Audrey Fernandes or Dr. Abbas Kerim-Dikeni
at 514-934-1934 ext. 34510.

Media requests should be directed to:
Seeta Ramdass
Public Relations & Communications Coordinator
McGill University Health Centre Public Relations & Communications Services