When it’s not ‘Just That Time of the Month’
PMDD is a disorder that is only recently being recognized by the medical profession. PMDD can be described as prolonged and more intense PMS, to the point where it significantly affects the life of the person suffering from it. Keep reading to find out more about this condition, how to get a diagnosis, and what treatments are available below.
Most women experienced a dip in mood just before the arrival of their period each month. But for people with PMDD, this change in mood happens for a lot longer than a day or two. Indeed, many people with PMDD experience around 2 weeks of disruption in their mood as well as other symptoms, making it a very difficult condition to cope with.
What are the symptoms of PMDD?
The symptoms of PMDD tend to start during the luteal phase of your period which means anything from 14 to 7 days before you expect a bleed. Symptoms can be both emotional and physical and may include things like
- anxiety/panic attacks
- Brain fog
- Mood lability
- Thoughts of suicide
- Digestive issues
- Joint and muscle pain
What causes PMDD?
At the moment, we still don’t know for sure what caused some people to experience PMDD and not others. It appears to be linked to the fluctuation of hormones during a cycle and some people believe that those with PMDD may have an allergic-type of reactions to some of the hormones their body produces.
Getting a diagnosis
Sadly at the moment, there is no test that you can do to see if you have PMDD. However, your doctor may do a range of tests to check that other conditions are not the cause of your symptoms.
To get a diagnosis it’s likely that you will need to see a specialist such as an endocrinologist, gynecologist. It can be very helpful to track your symptoms along with your cycle at least two months before you go, as this can show a relationship between your experience and your hormones and provide vital evidence for diagnosis.
There is a range of treatments that may be helpful for the management of PMDD. Some of these will include lifestyle changes such as cutting out sugar and getting more regular exercise. While others may include a dose of SSRI during the luteal phase only.
Some people are also beginning to recommend the use of hormones to balance the system. Although, bioidentical hormones like the ones you can get from Core Medical Group tend to be preferred both for the effect and their bioavailability. However, it is vital that you always go on medical advice and do not take any treatments unless they are prescribed or OKed by your doctor.
There are lots of places you can get support if you are struggling with PMDD. These include charities like IAMPD in the US and NAPS in the UK many of which run IRL and online support groups that can be invaluable resources for people whom this condition affects.