PMDD: What it is, what it isn’t

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a medical professional, and I don’t play one on TV. What I am is a woman who has lived w/PMDD — a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, colleague; all of these relationships were impacted by my PMDD, most especially before I knew what PMDD was and learned how to manage mine. PMDD is often hereditary, and my first experience with PMDD was decades ago (back before the medical community recognized it as a legitimate medical condition): my mother suffered from it, and we all suffered along with her. Remember that old expression, “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy”…? Well, when I realized a few years ago (late 2006) that I was “turning into my mother” and NOT in a good way, I took steps to educate myself so I could improve not only the quality of my own life, but also the quality of my husband’s and children’s lives as well… If what I’ve learned sets you, dear reader, on a journey of discovery and healing, then I’m happy to share…

What It Is
PMDD is caused by a hormone imbalance, just like diabetes is caused by a chemical imbalance. The medical community is just now starting to connect the dots when it comes to hormones and mood, weight gain, insomnia, and other physical responses to hormone imbalance (just ask any woman who’s going through or been through menopause how much her doctors understand/understood and are/were able to help provide any relief from her uncomfortable and often embarrassing symptoms).

PMDD is an often debilitating condition where one of the key symptoms is severe depression, which can manifest in many different ways, including sadness, hopelessness/despair, or rage. PMDD corresponds directly with a woman’s menstrual cycle and usually occurs one to two weeks before the onset of menses, when a woman’s body enters the luteal phase of her cycle (this is when ovulation occurs).

Women who suffer from PMDD can also experience physical symptoms such as breast tenderness, headaches (my own mother had migraines every month with her period, and I mean REAL migraines, not the severe headaches people often incorrectly refer to as “migraines”), and muscle pain. If symptoms last less than a week, if they’re not severe enough to disrupt a woman’s life (work, school, personal relationships, etc.), or if they’re not in sync with a woman’s menstrual cycle (either they don’t abate and then return, they don’t occur consistently at the same time every month, or they’re always present), then it’s unlikely to be PMDD.

Key Points:

  • PMDD is caused by a hormone imbalance
  • PMDD is always in sync with a woman’s menstrual cycle
  • PMDD is disruptive and often debilitating
  • One of the key symptoms of PMDD is severe depression
  • Women who suffer from PMDD can also experience physical symptoms

What It Isn’t
There are still a lot of misconceptions about PMDD out there, even among medical professionals: at one point, when I was still heavy in my research phase, I found a doctor (supposedly a women’s health specialist) who actually marginalized PMDD by saying that it’s basically just a new name for PMS. That is absolutely NOT correct. One of my sisters lives w/severe PMS, but it’s still nowhere NEAR as bad as my severe PMDD was, and she “only” has to endure it for 2-3 days a month, not TWO SOLID WEEKS every month before her period starts. Also, if you’re seeking help from your doctor and he (or she) tells you “it’s all in your head, just get over it” or anything of the like, find another doctor, because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about: PMDD isn’t a psychological disorder, even though many of the symptoms are emotional and mental.

Key Points:

  • PMDD is NOT another name for PMS
  • PMDD is NOT a psychological disorder
  • PMDD is NOT an imaginary problem

For more information about PMDD and hormone imbalance, please visit the links provided in the “PMDD Links” section of my blog, or read the books below (these are just a few of the books published on bioidentical hormones and anti-aging medicine):

Somers_Ageless_cover
Ageless: the naked truth about bioidentical hormones, by Suzanne Somers

Lee_Premenopause_cover
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause: Balance Your Life and Your Hormones from Thirty to Fifty, by John R. Lee

Lee_Hormone-Balance-Made-Simple_cover
Dr. John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple: The Essential How-to Guide to Symptoms, Dosage, Timing, and More, by John R. Lee

DISCLOSURE: these are my Amazon affiliate links; my primary motivation, however, is the satisfaction of knowing that maybe I’m giving someone somewhere the information she needs to get her life back.

For readers in Utah, and specifically in the SLC Metro area, please refer to my PMDD: Resources for SLC Metro page for health care practitioners who specialize in women’s issues including hormone imbalance. I’ll continue to add resources to that page as I find and evaluate them, and hopefully it will be a useful resource for many of my readers.

111 thoughts on “PMDD: What it is, what it isn’t”

  1. Linda R. said:

    This a a great entry that many women would benefit from especially the ones wondering if there are other women out there suffering from the same thing. Peace!

    • Karen Burr said:

      I absolutely relate to your blog. I have had PMDD for aboout 5 years. The problem is I need a doctor in So Cal who can help me. I’m on the pill which helps. I was on Prozac, that seemed to help, but I felt like I was speeded out all the time on that so I got off. Did natural hormones, didn’t work, creams, etc. I have back pain, rages, depression–is it just work out what works for you? I wish there was a tried and true answer whether that be a pill or whatever. Know of any PMDD specialists in So Cal or a website to research?

  2. Kira said:

    Great breakdown of PMDD – one i’ll be sure to pass along to those family memebers not quite getting a FULL UNDERSTANDING of my life and what is REALLY going on!

  3. Jennifer-Renee said:

    I am currently researching this condition because it is thought I might have it. My only problem is that my symptoms do not immediately subside after the start of my period. In fact, I spend about 2 1/2 to 3 weeks out of a month beside myself with nearly all the symptoms associated with PMDD. I am beginning to wonder now if I might have a different problem, or if I am just the odd one out in experiencing no relief when my period starts….I need more answers…

    • Janice Bailey said:

      I have the same problem. I was told it was PMDD. About 2 1/2 to 3 weeks I am a debilitated wreck. It seems like the whole month. I can recall 2 to 3 days of “normalness” out each month.

    • Stephanie said:

      No you are not the only one! I just started researching this because I thought I was crazy! My period just ended yesterday and today is a normal day. Now I wait in 2 weeks when I ovulate it will all start again. Actually now that I think about the timing I don’t have 2 weeks:( During this cycle I was so enraged I chased down a car because it was honking at me and I was nervous about turning my car at a red light because what if I didn’t calculate right and it was someone else’s turn to go. The next two days I cried for 2 hours straight just because. Now finally a day of peace!

  4. anna said:

    I feel the same way Jennifer. I feel like this stuff never goes away. I feel like I probably spend one week out of 4 feeling normal and healthy.

  5. Sharon said:

    I agree w/Anna and Jennifer. I have ONE good week a month. I am at my wit’s end with this. Does anyone have a “fix” to this problem w/out the antidepressants? I can’t handle the prozac. It makes me too solemn and withdrawn…of course, I’m sure my family wouldn’t mind me staying that way instead of the rage…..

    • Kim S. said:

      Hi, new to this site. My Ob/Gyn just diagnosed me with PMDD last Friday, although I believe I’ve had it for at least 8 years. I’ve had three beautiful children in that 8 years, but lots of Female problems at the same time. My pain became so bad that I was in pain 3 out of 4 weeks. That’s no way to live. After 2 years of being a guinea pig with my ob/gyn…we tried every treatment…Mirena IUD made my pain a million times worse, then 6 months of endometriosis shots in the butt, then other things…finally my ob/gyn agreed to do a hysterectomy. I have my right ovary still, everything else is gone. I’m so glad I had this surgery. Everyone’s different, of course, but my pain is probably at least 65-70% better. I still have pain from my right ovary once a month…and now I’m trying to decide lexapro or bio-identicals for PMDD treatment. My ob/gyn doesn’t believe in hormone therapy, so she prescribed the anti-depressant..but I haven’t taken it yet. I’m going to get a second opinion from my family practice doctor and see what he says about bio-identicals. I’ve heard good things about bio-identicals from 2 or 3 women that I know personally.

  6. tanyaross said:

    Sharon, Anna, Jennifer-Renee, and anyone else who’s struggling w/PMDD, the safest, most effective way to address PMDD is w/BHRT (bio-identical hormone replacement therapy), which corrects the imbalance in your body chemistry using hormones identical to the ones your body makes naturally, NOT w/synthetic drugs (Premarin and other synthetic “hormones” are NOT hormones at all, they’re drugs, period, that’s all, end of story) — I need to write another page w/a lot more detail re: BHRT: why it’s safe, why it’s effective, why it’s being threatened by Big Pharma, and how to find doctors who can treat your hormone imbalance w/BHRT and not merely hand you a Rx for chemical anti-depressants… pls give me a few days to put something together — do check back!

    be well,
    Tanya

  7. Andrea said:

    I have one more book to add, the Miracle of Bioidentical Hormones by Dr. Michael E. Platt.

  8. Lindsey said:

    I got my period around the age of 12. I always had pretty terrible physical symptoms. I have thrown up due to cramp pain, been frozen with shock due to the pain. As a teenager I was thought to be severely depressed. I wonder now if maybe it was PMDD. I remember descrbing short periods of time where I felt fine, not elated, not hyper, just normal, and then about 2 weeks before my period feeling awful again. I was put on antidepressants, and even diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, and/or Borderline Personality Disorder. Around the age of 21, I finally put the pieces together. Maybe much wasn’t known about PMDD even just a few years ago. But as we have collected more and more cases of women with these same symptoms we call PMDD, I can only hope there will be more research conducted, and more help.
    What is infuriating is that PMDD is not yet considered a legitimate illness. It is not listed in the DSM IV. Psychiatrists-of course- try to shove anti depressants down your throat all month long to fix the problem, when during the few good days (several studies say PMDD allows 7-10 days without symptoms for EVERY menstrual cycle) you will experience a fog over your decent emotions. Personally, what frustrates me almost more than anything, is that while I try to remind myself of what’s coming at some point in the month (I have the added disadvantage of not having a regular period) I almost always get lost in the depression and anxiety that comes about 2 weeks before the actual need to wear a tampon, and basically “forget” that the drastic changes I am going through, (the impulsive decisions and actions, the terrible hopelessness, the debilitating fatigue, the change in emotions toward myself and my loved ones, the weight gain, the all over tension of my body, the cringing and tearful headaches-mostly in the temples, even suicidal thoughts, just to name a few) is due to some sort of hormonal change and it WILL go away again. I know that PMDD is real. I know I have it. I know what damages are done because of it. Every month I try to clean up after the damages the “PMDD-ME” did, and about a week and a half out of every month being productive and feeling well, doesn’t get you far. There needs to be more research dedicated to this disorder. I am not going to settle for a cure of something that comes closest to what I have. Might I add by the way, that regular exercise is 90% as effective as antidepressants. Although exercise does help my symptoms some what, It just isn’t enough. This is not something I create, it is not me just “being a woman”. I demand more research for this very real disorder.

    • Cartesia said:

      I was put on anti-depressants too at the age of fourteen. Everybody thought it was manic depression and bipolar. I even lost my kids because of those diagnoses. It wasn’t until I was about twenty-five that my ex-boyfriend pointed out I was having the problems. I did researched and found out that it was PMDD. Last year at the age of twenty seven my doctor put me on serafem. The first month I felt better then it turned against me and it became a nightmare. I also tried YAZ and the same effect. This has almost ruined my life completely. It is hard to work, make friends, and cause terrible depression and mood swings. I don’t know what to do anymore. I only have about a week and a half of happy time a month. Then when I start ovulating, it’s back to hell again. I lost so much . Thank goodness I have a great boyfriend and he understands but I need help. I don’t have insurance and trying to get medicaid. Maybe somebody can help me.

      • tanyaross said:

        Cartesia, you might want to look into bio-identical hormone therapy — it’s not usually very expensive (at least not out here in Utah), and it actually addresses the underlying hormone imbalance that causes the symptoms, it doesn’t just mask the symptoms while the real problem still persists. I’m not one of these “a pill for every ill” people, so my personal health care philosophy is quite different from many people’s, but while I do believe pharmaceuticals have their place (primarily w/acute care, for infections, etc.), I believe that natural treatments encourage the body to heal itself, which is what it’s designed to do. Best of luck to you!

        ~~T

  9. Beth Sara Richter said:

    Wow. This thread is over a year old, and the response is still going – and with good reason. All of you women have my blessings because you are not alone. I’m 25 years old and two weeks out of the month I feel like I’m premenopausal 40. From bloating, to constipation, to depression , to anxiety, to mood swings…no one around me can relate. I treat my body like a temple (clean diet, intense workout regimen (which seems to be making it worse), and I feel like I’m getting slapped in the face. I truly believe this is all due to our toxic environment and food industry and can only hope I discover a way to counteract the effects. Back to researching I go…

  10. I follow your blog for quite a long time and should tell that your posts are always valuable to readers.

  11. Jennifer said:

    This site really hit home. I think I might have PMDD. I remember growing up with my mother. Every month the migraines, the irrational and overwellming anger, the severe cramps and sore muscles. After our second child, my husband & I decided we were done having kids and he got a vascectomy. I have now been off birth control for about 8-9 months and about 2-3 months ago I started realizing how much I was turning into my mother. Every month about a week before my period and then for 1/2 my period I am miserable, and I make my children and husband even more miserable. My back and lower abdomin, arms & legs all ache. I scream & yell and then cry. I also normally gain 5-8 pounds every month right before my cycle from over eating and bloating. I’m hoping talking to my doctor might give me some relief, if not for me hopefully for my family.

    • Kim S. said:

      I’m new to this site. I sometimes scream uncontrollably at my kids…right in their faces, like 3 inches away…and I see in their eyes, the confusion and fear…and I can’t stop because I’m so angry and tired and out of control. This is what finally got me to go talk to my ob/byn last Friday. I love my children more than anything and I don’t want to hurt them like this anymore. I don’t want them to grow up and remember mommy screaming and yelling in their face, but I fear that they’re old enough that they will remember and that makes me so horribly sad and guilty and mad at myself…but I also have to realize and accept that it’s the PMDD that causes this. I have really good days too, when I’m proud of the mom that I am…but those bad days seem to take over my proud moments and I just feel like overall I’m failing. I love my husband too, but we haven’t had an intimate relationship in so long…first due to my pain, then after the hysterectomy, my pains been better, but my sex drive isn’t there. Maybe that’s because of hormones, or maybe it’s because my husband doesn’t know how to be affectionate and romantic with me, which, let’s face it…who could blame him after living with me these past 8 years. Well, we’ve been married 14 years, but the past 8 have been hard. We’d have talks about my issues. I’d bring it up, at how horrible I was to the kids, and he would, in trying to support me, tell me it’s o.k., that it’s hard taking care of the kids, they DO drive you crazy! They drive me crazy he would tell me. He would tell me that and then we wouldn’t do anything about my issues. I think he didn’t believe I had any issues that needed treatment. He just felt is was the stress of having children. Don’t rely on anyone else to tell you how you feel. If you feel out of control, and that your behavior is not normal…then trust yourself and make a doctor’s appointment before you spend 8 years yelling and screaming at your precious children and telling your husband that you love that maybe he should move out and get an apartment…(Yes, I told him that last week). Which was another realization that I need help.

  12. Joanne said:

    I’ve just been diagnosed with PMDD – thank goodness because I thought I was losing my mind!! I took my anti-depressants for2 weeks but had 2 migraines (which I’ve had for 10 years) for 2.5 days each. Because I couldn’t take my normal migraine medication – I’ve decided to stop the anti-depressants – it’s a tough decision – do I suffer migraines and lose days out of my life or become a completely irrational person for several weeks?

    • tanyaross said:

      Joanne, that definitely sounds like a devil’s choice, but there is another option: look into bio-identical hormone therapy, which I discuss briefly in my post here: http://tanyaross.wordpress.com/pmdd-what-finally-worked-for-me/

      anti-depressants caused a lot of problems for me: sure, I was “stable,” but I was a robot, and I knew there had to be a better way other than just going through the motions — that’s not any kind of a life, not for me or my family. bio-identicals gave me tremendous relief until I could finally find what was causing my hormones to be out of whack in the first place and address that root cause. Best of luck to you!

      ~~T

  13. I’m 19 years old and I just always thought I was losing my mind or something…I was always told I’m overreacting and that nothing’s wrong and I just got a lot of down play on everything. I use to be happy all the time…I’m naturally a very happy person but when my disorder hits it just rules my entire life. It’s extreme and I have panic attacks where I stop breathing for moments at a time…I feel depressed and suicidal and paranoid and nervous…I also snap and am often thrown into rage for minor things…I even have a social anxiety…I get extreme headaches and muscles pains..my boobs are so sore they hurt when I walk:/…..I’m just SO tired of this and I want some answers!…doctors just act as if I’m overreacting and try to shove pills down my throat and I never felt like they really and truly cared….does anyone know any natural remedies? I have an irregular menstrual period so it’s sorta hard to tell anything…but what I do know is that I get symptoms of PMDD almost every month or so but experience no period…does my irregular period complicate the disorder? SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!

    • tanyaross said:

      Dasmine, the only natural remedy I know of is bio-identical hormone therapy, which most doctors may be reluctant to put you on b/c you’re so young. but that being said, be persistent! there’s no age limit for hormone imbalance, there are so many external factors that can whack your hormones out. keep looking for a doctor who doesn’t think pills are the answer to everything, a doc who’ll listen to you and help you address what’s CAUSING your symptoms and not just give you drugs to cover up the symptoms. they ARE out there, and a compounding pharmacy is a good place to get recommendations for one local to you. Best of luck to you!

      ~~T

  14. Kim S. said:

    I’m going to look into bio-identicals.

    • tanyaross said:

      Kim, DO look into bio-identicals, I think you might find tremendous relief there. your story sounds much like my own, on so many levels, but there IS hope! the trick is finding a doctor who will actually LISTEN to you, who has actually made a study of human hormones and how they affect the various systems within and functions of the human body, and who will help you address the fundamental hormone imbalance and not merely mask the symptoms of the imbalance w/pills. it CAN be done, you just have to be persistent, be your own best advocate for your health. Best of luck to you!

      ~~T

  15. Nell said:

    Why is this not talked about more? It seems more common than we think.

    After reading this, I’m now trying to find a new doctor and I’m going to ask specifically about this. I’ve been going insane lately with the pain, the rage and depression. I’ve missed so much work, lost friends, and my current relationship is on the brink of disaster. Thank you for writing this!

    • tanyaross said:

      Nell, I wish you the best of luck finding a treatment that works for you. hormone balance is such a delicate thing, and the medical community has precious little real understanding of how human hormones interact with and affect each other, contributing to our overall state of health. the causes of hormone imbalance are as many and varied as there are people who suffer from hormone imbalance, so treatment has to be individualized, there’s simply not a quick fix; yes, there are things that will provide temporary relief from symptoms, but a real cure has to address the underlying hormone imbalance and ultimately what’s causing it for that person. again, best of luck to you! 🙂

      ~~T

  16. Marlene said:

    I just found this site today and can’t believe that I was suffering alone for so long. I am 25 years old and just recently discovered that the agony I go through 2 weeks before my period is actually something called PMDD. My symptoms are so severe at times that some days I can’t even drag myself out of bed in the morning. I have extreme fits of rage and break things, yell at my husband for no reason and just feel this overwhelming feeling of despair. My physical symptoms include eating everything in sight, nausea, migraines, lethargy, body aches like I have the flu and so on. There have even been times when I feel that life isn’t worth living. This has affected my success at work as well as my relationship with my friends. My husband can’t understand how I can be this calm, happy, fun person one week and then be an emotional and physical wreck the next. I have never spoken to anyone about this and would like some suggestions as to what I can do to alleviate my symptoms naturally as I don’t want to take any prescription medicine or antidepressants.

    • tanyaross said:

      Marlene, you’re definitely NOT alone! the resources listed at the end of this post are very helpful, informative books on bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which is NOTHING like the hormone replacement therapy that uses synthetic hormones and usually causes more problems than it fixes. BHRT is safe and effective, and it was the best “band-aid” I could’ve had to give me the relief I desperately needed from debilitating symptoms while I continued to search for what was ultimately causing my hormone imbalance. if you haven’t already, pls read my “PMDD: What finally worked for me” post where I go into greater detail about how I ultimately conquered my PMDD monster.

      I’m so sorry to know you suffer from PMDD, but I’m very glad you found my blog, not only so you know you’re not alone but also maybe to have some hope that you can beat this thing, too — it’s not easy, and it takes time to figure out, but it CAN be done! 🙂

      ~~T

  17. roxie60 said:

    I have dealt w/ PMDD for 36 years (before it was named). I would have one good day a month and in misery the rest. Unfrtunately now I am going through menopause and was hoping the severity of PMDD would subside, not all symptoms disappeared and now with HRT it is like my cycle is back only the PMDD symps are worse(I did not think it possible). I am so weary and now fear losing my job. Family and friends are bewildered. I am tired of the fight.

  18. Nooooo! Im using my iphone and I can’t seem to be able to access the page right. I will be back to read this tonight when I get back from lecture. The topic looks like something I need to read.

  19. Justine said:

    Thanks for this. Basically every major fight, breakdown, or anxiety attack that I can remember has come within a week before I get my period. I have lost friends and boyfriends over this. I’m going to try to make it a point to explain this in the future at the start of new relationships so people know that when I start to cry for no reason or have no energy, I am experiencing PMDD. Of course I am googling PMDD right now because I am going through it, particularly worse than usual. My mom called me today and I couldn’t answer the phone because I didn’t have the energy to talk and I didn’t want to snap at her. I started crying two or three times for no reason. I’ve also been on a binging rampage, eating way more than usual.

    I’ve tried natural progesterone but it didn’t seem to help. I am on Yasmin so at least I know when my PMDD is approaching and can plan accordingly. I think one of the major things is exercising and eating correctly. I definitely don’t do it enough, but I know when I exercise more before and during the time I have my period, I always feel a lot better.

    I wish PMDD was more acceptable and known about, like having migraines or sinus infections. Like, could I email my professor and say, “Sorry, I could hardly get any work done this weekend because I was PMDDing, can I get an extension?” yeah right! I also read that PMDD makes you more likely to experience postpartum depression. Has anyone experienced that?

    • tanyaross said:

      hi Justine,

      natural progesterone can sometimes help, but most OTC remedies have such low dosages of progesterone that you’re unlikely to notice a significant improvement. I strongly recommend working w/a licensed medical practitioner who can give you Rx-strength hormones; they can also test your hormone levels to see exactly where you’re deficient/excessive – you might actually have too much progesterone and not enough estrogen, so treating a progesterone deficiency wouldn’t give you beneficial results. it’s always best to work w/a doc who can support you in your total well-being.

      just fyi, hormone-based BC affects your natural hormone levels, so keep that in mind as you’re looking for ways to manage/treat your PMDD.

      and fwiw, my PMDD didn’t actually start until after my PPD subsided; prior to being PG, I had severe PMS, but nothing like the severe PMDD I endured for ~3 yrs.

      best of luck as you continue to look for a solution that works for you 🙂

      ~~T

  20. Judy Bivens said:

    My daughter is 23 and her life seems to be dissappearing. She has always had extremly painful periods lasting weeks. Heavy, heavy flow, nausea and vomiting, rage, anxiety, social withdrawal, etc….everything I’ve read here! I have sent her to my doctor (I’m 53 and on the other side of menopause) and they have tried to help her but to no avail yet. Should we keep trying this avenue?

    • tanyaross said:

      hi Judy,

      what has your doc done to try to help your daughter? did s/he put your daughter on BHRT, or did s/he prescribe pharmaceuticals for her? IMO drugs have their place but mainly for acute care (such as antibiotics); for long-term/maintenance situations, natural remedies are generally going to be safer (fewer side effects, if any) and will work WITH the body’s natural ability to heal itself, not try to force the body to function a certain way, usu by masking symptoms instead of actually fixing the root problem. I don’t know how your doctor practices medicine, but you really want to find a doc who can 1) work w/your daughter holistically on her health and well-being (and not just throw pills at her) and 2) prescribe BHRT for your daughter, which will need to be prepared by a compounding pharmacist b/c the dosage of hormones w/b unique to your daughter and her hormone levels.

      keep in mind that while BHRT may offer some much-needed relief in a fairly short amount of time, BHRT is NOT a one-time solution: as your daughter’s hormone levels adjust, her BHRT will need to be adjusted as well, and the whole process could take several months; nor is BHRT necessarily the ONLY solution to hormone imbalance: if you read my PMDD: What finally worked for me page, you’ll know that addressing external factors in my life significantly improved my hormone levels, to a much greater degree than BHRT alone did (altho’ the BHRT did help stabilize my hormone levels). good luck to you and your daughter! I wish you both good health 🙂

      ~~T

      • I am 25yrs old and have been using natural progesterone 4% cream for 2 weeks prescibed by my doc. I have not yet experienced any relief from my pmdd. Can you tell me how long it usually takes to start feeling the benefits and will it eventually help with my acne prob cause eversince I got off Yaz my skin has been horrible. How can I tell if I am using too much or too little?

        • tanyaross said:

          hi Kim,

          I personally experienced relief from my PMDD symptoms within a few days of starting the Rx progesterone regimen my doc put me on, but keep in mind that every woman is different. it takes time to figure out what works for your unique body chemistry, and unfortunately there’s no easy answer, it’s a matter of trial and error to find the right strength of BHRT, the right combo of treatments, etc. you can always call your doc to let her/him know that you’re not feeling any better — they may arrange for you to come in for more testing or simply increase the strength of your Rx. good luck, and hang in there! 🙂

          ~~T

  21. Jenny said:

    Hello ladies as you all said thank HGod for this blog. I have to say that dealing with this dis is getting harder adn nmore disheartening every month. I am a mental health clinician suffering with PMDD. For me my struggle is not being able to control myself when I lash out or act like a bitch for no reason. I am in a new relationship and he sees what is happening. I know this is real but how much abuse is he supposed to endure. I also feel stronger knowin that I am not alone and that this is very real. I want to be in courtol not it control me. I am a happy successful person that wants to overcome this and be my self all month long

  22. Becci said:

    I have a feeling that God can work miricles through Google! You and your blog have been a great natural relief to my nasty mood swings and what’s the freakin piont to this stupid everything mood! PMDD huh… gotta do some studying on this, sounds really good to not be so alone!

    Have a great hair day! Becci

    • tanyaross said:

      oh Becci, you, too?? it always makes me sad to hear that another woman has been struggling w/hormone imbalance, but I do hope you find the information on my blog helpful. and check back for a big announcement coming soon! 😉

      ~~T

  23. Tracy said:

    I was starting to think that I was losing my mind and now I find out that its hormones!! It sucks! I am at the beginning of menapause and it is really rough on me and those around me. I feel rage, I am anxious, I sleep too much or not enough and my heart feels like it’s coming out of my chest! I am ready to these hormones to stop playing with me!

    • tanyaross said:

      it really is a special kind of hell, isn’t it? even the medical community still doesn’t seem to realize the sometimes devastating effects that hormone imbalance can have on a woman’s life.

      I hope you’ll read through the other related entries on my blog, they may help you find a doctor or other medical professional who can help you get your hormones back in balance so you can enjoy a normal, healthy life. best of luck to you! 🙂

      ~~T

  24. Hi Tanya,

    I came across your blog whilst searching for natural PMDD relief. I’m really pleased that I found all this information you’ve researched.
    I can recall as far as my early 20’s how I’ve had bouts of unexplainable mood swings, feeling low and having anxiety. I never really tracked the root. I just thought, well maybe it’s my environment and how I (didn’t know how to) deal with it. But then I read this post and realised that it made so much sense. Before this, I had been tracking these mood fluctuations and the phases of my period and found that (as you mentioned) these moments occured about 2 weeks before my period started, and would stop or gradually decrease as my period went by.
    I cannot describe how terrible I feel and emotionally debilitating it is. It’s very frustrating because when I get in these periods I just sit there and inadvertently focus on something that bothers me and I get very anxious and negative about it. And while I know it’s completely useless feeling like that, I cannot stop, I can’t just snap out of it. I’m actually at the state at this moment and it affects not just me personally but the people around me as well.
    It’s unfortunate that most people around me don’t understand the legitimacy of this condition and think that I’m overreacting and expect that I get over it, which is kind of sad, but I can definitely change myself via getting help for the condition.
    I’m thankful for you sharing this information.
    I do have a question, would you know if there’s a possible correlation with taking birth-control and the onset of PMDD? I do remember looking back now that I only noticed the PMDD as significant once I had began taking bc.
    I have not gotten any treatment but I am considering trying natural supplements like 5htp, magnesium glycinate, vitamin d and milk thistle at least for the anxiety. I will definitely look into the BHRT. Thanks again for all this information! Much appreciated.

    • tanyaross said:

      Eloisa, I’m so glad you found the info here helpful! you’re not alone — there are so many of us who suffer w/debilitating hormone imbalance, and so many women know there’s something wrong but they haven’t yet put all of the pieces of the puzzle together. btw, if you can find a doctor (or other medical professional) who understands the importance of dietary supplements to support your health, he or she will be able to help you find a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other supplements to help you in your quest for normalcy (it IS achievable, I’ve been there myself and am finding my way back again, so hang in there!).

      to answer your Q re: possible correlation between hormone-based BC (e.g., BC pills) and PMDD, there are 2 things that to me just scream YES, there is definitely a relationship there: 1) my own personal experience w/BC pills and the severe PMDD I experienced until I switched my BC to another form; and 2) since BC pills (and a few other types of BC, such as NuvaRing) are based on synthetic hormones, logic alone dictates that yes, hormone-based BC can and does have a distinct influence on the duration and severity of PMDD symptoms. hth, and I wish you luck finding long-term solutions that work for you! 🙂

      ~~T

  25. Debbie said:

    Hi, just wondered, I am 56 years old, I have had a historectomy in my 30’s, I have been on bio identical hormones,
    estrogel 0.75 per day,
    progesterone 0.75 per day,
    testosterone 0.25 per day
    since February 2010 and felt found I started sleeping really well, no hot flashes, and my libido got alot better, this is all great however, in the last month all of a sudden I feel terrible. I’ve been having headaches but worse is all the aches and pains i’m having all over my body, my stomach is upset alot of the time and wondered if the hormones are causing these symtoms. I am seeing two different doctors and one wants me to double my estrogen and the other says no way i will be estrogen dominent and that can be dangerous, she wants me to add 0.25 of the progesterone instead. I don’t now what to do I just know I feel like garbage. Help

    • tanyaross said:

      hi Debbie! I’m glad you were feeling better w/the BHRT for a while — did you happen to see my PMDD: What finally worked for me post? in it I described how, once my hormones were in balance, the BHRT actually starting GIVING me migraines instead of preventing them. so that’s one possibility — your body may be in balance right now (it took me a~6 mos to get to that point) and you may not need the support of BHRT at this time. another possibility is that your hormones have simply become unbalanced in a different way — maybe what you need isn’t more estrogen, but maybe it is. the only way to find out if something will work for you is to try it and see how your body responds. there are no quick fixes here and no easy answers, and every woman is completely unique, not only b/c of our body chemistry but also b/c of our lifestyles, including diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc.

      however, I strongly recommend picking and sticking w/ONE doc — getting mixed messages from two different docs is only going to add to your confusion and make it very difficult to figure out what your body really needs. it shouldn’t matter which doc you choose, but I’d suggest going w/whomever you feel will be most supportive of YOU and listen to you as your PARTNER in your health.

      good luck, and be well! 🙂
      ~~T

  26. --K from Florida said:

    Wow. I’m so happy to know I’m not alone with PMDD. The doctors at my university probably though I was a freak when I came to them with this diagnosis. They gave me Zoloft which I started to take but it was not right for me. Then they gave me Yaz. That has been helping but the symptoms are and probably will always be there.

    Looking back, I know now why my mom acted the way she did every two weeks. She has PMDD too. At the time I didn’t realize this and wondered why she would turn into Dr. Jeckell and Mr. Hyde. It was so confusing why she would scream at me, hit me for no reason and cry uncontrollably in her room. Know I know because before Yaz I felt this way too.

    Graduate school is so hard with this disorder. I look great on the outside to everyone else so no one even suspects there is anything wrong. It extremely difficult to concentrate and study. Sometimes I can’t even recall things I already know and not to mention learn anything new during the bad two weeks. It is impossible for me to take tests because my memory is so horrible and the anxiety is on the order of public speaking/stage fright. My teachers/friends must be so confused. Sometimes I’m really smart and other times I can barely talk because the words just don’t come to mind fast enough.

    Aside from the mental fogginess and depression, symptoms of hypoglycemia accompany me during the weeks before my period. This compounds with the mental fogginess when my sugar gets too low. I can deal with the headaches, muscle cramping, insomnia, and uncontrollable crying, but why does it have to affect my mind?

    During the good two weeks I am remarkably sharp and creative. I wish so much I could just be who I am during the good weeks. I want so much to be a successful female scientist but it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue with graduate school. I have made an appointment with a gyno-endocrynologist. Hopefully something good will come of my visit.

    Cheers to all,
    K

  27. Jennifer said:

    Hi from Canada ~

    I was diagnosed about 5 years ago – my PMDD symptoms are specific to impulse behaviours around spending, binge eating, alcohol (I don’t drink much otherwise). I also get the full spectrum of loss of memory, concentration etc. I do not, however, get depression – I get rage, intolerance, a serious desire to hermit (mostly to protect my loved ones from my unreasonable behaviour).

    I also do not tolerate antidepressants well – mostly because I am not depressed. It doesn’t change the fact that my other symptoms aren’t debilitating, it’s just that I get manic, not depressed. Not all women get depressed – rage is not a depression behaviour – it’s a mania type of behaviour…

    Anyway, I’ve just started on a drug called topirimate (Topimax), which is not normally indicated for PMDD (it’s actually used for epilepsy and for the impulse behaviours that go with bipolar disorder) – HOWEVER, recent studies have shown success in treatment of PMDD for women for whom antidepressants haven’t worked.

    It’s something else to consider, the results for me were immediate – within 72 hours the fog in my head started clearing and I was able to get a better gauge on my behaviour and I’ve been less agressive since. Also, the binge eating has stopped (the drug has a pretty powerful appetite suppressant in it too).

    I recommend it as an option to discuss with your health practitioner at any rate.

    • tanyaross said:

      hi Jennifer, I’m glad you found something that works for you. personally I strongly dislike the idea of 1) using pharmaceuticals long-term (altho’ I do believe they have their place for acute care) and 2) treating symptoms VS curing the actual problem, so for myself I’ve chosen bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), which works wonders for me — no chemical drugs, and my symptoms are abating b/c I’m addressing the root cause. also, unlike most Westerners, I can be very patient when it comes to my health, so I don’t need quick fixes, but thx 🙂

      be well!
      ~~T

      • Jennifer said:

        I’m also glad you found something that works for you and I am looking into BHRT to see if it’s a good longer term choice. Prior to trying the Topamax, I had tried several natural remedies such as Vitex and a host of remedies prescribed by my naturopath, working in conjunction with my GP – and I lived in Thailand for two years and consulted with a female Thai herbalist doctor there (she was also unable to find anything that truly worked). I just wanted to mention that in response to your suggestion that I might be quick fix Westerner, I’m a pagan Buddhist yoga instructor and have been addressing the root causes through cognitive therapy for the past few years. I am also incredibly patient and don’t even take Tylenol or Advil for a headache. I’m about as rooted in Earth based Eastern practices as one can get :-). Blessings.

        • tanyaross said:

          sawadee ka, Jennifer! my “quick fix Westerner” comment wasn’t meant to offend, altho’ it doesn’t sound like you took it that way, which I appreciate 🙂 I was merely referring to the culture in which I live and am often thought to be strongly influenced by (which, thankfully, I’m not), b/c I usu have no clue where my readers are from (or anything else about them, for that matter) unless they tell me outright.

          btw, I have a lot of love and respect for the Thai people — one of my BIL’s (really great guy) is Thai, so I’ve made it a point to try to learn more about his country and culture (and even a bit of his language, since he’s made the herculean effort to learn English), and I hope someday to have the opportunity to travel to Thailand and experience it for myself; I also have a great deal of respect for Buddhists and their desire to live in peaceful harmony w/the universe and to seek for enlightenment.

          I do believe BHRT is a key component of a holistic approach to wellness, but again, don’t take my personal assertion that pharmaceuticals are best for acute care as insistence that they shouldn’t be used at all otherwise — that’s my own personal belief, but it’s also a primary reason why I wanted a safe, natural solution to managing my hormone imbalance long term, so I include my “drugs for acute care only” stance in my story b/c it was a major factor in the approach I chose to pursue. I’ve experienced such significant relief from my symptoms that I can’t help but want to share the source of that relief (BHRT) w/other women who suffer as I do, altho’ I fully recognize that 1) just b/c something works for me doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work for someone else and 2) we all have the right to make individual choices for our wellness based on what we feel is right for ourselves. I wish you luck finding a solution that’s right for YOU. 🙂

          namaste (yes, I practice hatha yoga, altho’ I can’t claim to be anything more than a beginner in the discipline) and be well,
          ~~T

  28. So wonderful to have a community of women who suffer from PMDD and are willing to talk about it and learn from eachother.
    I am a 23 year old woman who has been fighting the fight for ten years.
    You can find additional experiences and hopefully comfort on my tumblr, mypmddblog.tumblr.com

    I admire all of you willing to share a very difficult and personal battle.
    One in the same.

  29. Sarah said:

    Really great to hear I am not alone at all with this. I have always had bad PMS but all of a sudden in my early forties I now have PMDD. I am almost 43. The sudden crying, the rages that come out of no where, the insomnia, mood swing city. Not good for relationships or your health. I am going to look into these BRT’s immediately & I made an appt with my Dr. for tomorrow. Adding more exercise & better diet immediately to my routine. I cannot let this effect my husband or my children. It has been going on for about a year and I hope to get this nipped in the bud now! Any suggestions please send.

    • tanyaross said:

      Sarah, I’m so glad you found my blog (but I’m sorry to hear you’re suffering w/hormone imbalance) — you’re definitely not alone! have you also read my page “PMDD or perimenopause?“? if not, you may want to, before you meet w/your doc, just to have some add’l info available so you’re discussing a more complete picture and really making that visit worthwhile. I know what it’s like to also worry about the quality of life your husband and children have w/you when you’re functioning at less than optimum — good luck, and be well! 🙂

      ~~T

  30. Jessica said:

    Hi Tanya and all. I apologize in advance for how long this is. I hope you will read it and get back to me.

    I am about to begin the journey of trying to find a more natural remedy for pmdd. I’m so lost and would really appreciate it if you could email me what you are using as a bioidentical remedy. Other input is welcome too.

    Where I live hormone therapy for non menopausal women is basically unheard of. I am going to have to do my homework and ask for specific help. I’m 25, and I cannot get a gyno, internist, or psychiatrist to take me seriously about this mood problem related to my cycle.

    I basically match the medical criteria for pmdd exactly. Its been clear to my family for years that my mood is tied to my menses in a very debilitating way. For awhile I/ a doc thought I was bipolar, but 8 different meds between ages 19-24 didn’t help and the first bc I took (yaz) did. I used yaz birth control for 1.5 years and just quit last week. It helped, but began to help less each month. Plus, I was concerned about the side effects of synthetic hormones and danger of yaz in particular. A short google search will reveal numerous unsavory findings about statistically sig. yaz related deaths and bayer’s poor policies regarding this pill. I (literally) couldn’t take it anymore.

    I would be so thankful to you, or anyone else in this thread for any tips. I’m terrified of being a ‘lab rat’ once again, so I’ve been hesitant to try bioidentical hrt. Yet now that I’ve stopped yaz, something else is a must. I am also considering TCM and acupuncture as another route to hormonal balance. Has anyone tried that?

    Finally, are there medical tests to confirm PMDD, or is most diagnosis anecdotal? I’ve been confused and doubted for so long, I long for some concrete ‘proof.’

    Thank you so much for reading.

    Jess

    • tanyaross said:

      Jessica,

      I’m happy you found us, and yet sad to know that you’re suffering w/hormone imbalance — it truly can be debilitating, and it’s not recognized or taken seriously by enough people in the medical community. I hope you find the info I have here, along w/my story and the stories of other women, encouraging 🙂

      first, a suggestion: try to locate a compounding pharmacy in your area. BHRT is typically a compounded medicine (mine are topical creams), so a compounding pharmacy would most likely be able to give you the names of a few doctors in your area who prescribe BHRT. iacprx.org is a good place to start, but you might even consider just calling a local pharmacy and asking them who does compounding in your area.

      second, to answer your Q re: medical tests, while there aren’t any tests (that I know of) to confirm PMDD per se, there are tests that can confirm hormone imbalance. my doc has used blood panels — and specifically tests to evaluate my levels of testosterone, estradiol (a component of estrogen), and progesterone — to verify that I’m progesterone-deficient, and I’m being treated accordingly. you may also want to have your DHEA levels evaluated (DHEA is a precursor to secondary/sex hormones); mine were low, so I’ve also been prescribed a DHEA supplement.

      I wish you the best of luck finding a medical professional who can help you achieve real wellness, it can be done! 🙂

      ~~T

    • --K from Florida said:

      Hi Jess,

      I took Yaz as well for a little over a year. I was desperate for relief. Though all the while I was researching for something more natural. As a college student I have access to many medical journals and have been reading at least one paper a day…its my ultimate goal to understand what I and so many other women suffer from.

      I have been to doctor after doctor; each wanting to prescribe me a new birth control pill or anti-depressant (which I naively tried and became so very sick).

      After investigating other alternatives I stumbled upon gamma-Aminobutyric acid or GABA for short. One paper (reference #1) shows a sensitivity in women with PMDD to GABA receptor antagonists (i.e. these antagonists being female hormones and GABA a neurotransmitter). The paper is very interesting and worth a read.

      I am not a medical student but I have not only researched GABA I have tried it. For me it is a God send. It by no means takes away all the symptoms, but it helps me to think when I usually wouldn’t be able to. It is a natural supplement that can be purchased from Amazon and the like.

      One article I read states that PMDD can be cured by eliminating ovarian steroid production. To me this is amazing! Though it would require treatment with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone super-agonists (Reference #2). It essentially puts a female in pre-pubescent state; eliminating PMDD all together. It might not be for everyone, but I wanted to let others know what kind of research and treatments are out there.

      As a less drastic alternative, I have been researching Vitamin A as a natural steroid antagonist. There are medical treatments that use Vit. A for this reason, but not for PMDD. More research is needed on this front.

      I also use the natural supplements 5-HTP and Valerian root. The 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and helps me with my mood and overall feeling of well being. The Valerian root is a wonderful natural sleep aid that I have found to leave me refreshed in the morning with no noticeable side effects.

      I hope that my research helps. I am so happy to have found this blog and talk with others who actually understand.

      Regards,
      K

      References:

      1) http://www.medref.se/pms/backstrom_13.pdf

      2) http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/560697

  31. Hillary Stephenson said:

    Hi Tanya, the information you’ve posted about PMDD is so helpful! I have realized that this is probably what is going on with me and I went to the gynecologist this week and ended up seeing the PA who was totally useless! Do you feel it’s better to see a woman? And do you know of any gynos in SLC that would take me seriously? Thanks for all you’ve written, I really appreciate it.

    • tanyaross said:

      Hillary, I’m glad you found my PMDD posts informative 🙂 I’m sorry the PA you saw wasn’t helpful — I see a Nurse Practitioner myself, and I think he’s great, so to answer your Q, no I don’t think a woman would necessarily be any better, nor do I think you’ll be better off w/a doc VS a PA or NP. it really depends very much on the person and the practice, so it might take some time to find a medical practitioner that really understands hormone imbalance and that you like.

      since you’re a Utah local (howdy neighbour!), I can give you a few pointers that have worked for me here in Utah County, and you can probably transpose them to SLC. first, try calling compounding pharmacies in your area — they can probably refer you to local clinics that prescribe BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy; NOT synthetic hormones, so you don’t run the risk of dangerous side effects). Smith Rexall Drug in Pleasant Grove, Taylor Drug in American Fork, and Dry Creek Pharmacy in Lehi are 3 that I know of down here — you might even call them and ask if they can tell you which pharmacies in SLC do compounding; or you could try finding a compounding pharmacy through International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists. I know it’s not exactly intuitive, but it IS easier to find a compounding pharmacy than it is to find a medical practice that prescribes BHRT, go figure.

      hth, and good luck finding a doc in SLC who can help you! 🙂
      ~~T

      • Michelle Bingham said:

        Tonya, I would be willing to take any names of doctors or nurse practioners in Utah(preferably Provo-Orem or SLC to begin my journey to deal with my out of balance hormones. I to suffer badly with the same symptoms at least two weeks before each menstrual cycle, all the problems. Moodiness, cramps, emotional disfunction, acne, not sleeping through the night. The list can go on and on. The problem is I have never dealt with balancing my hormones except with a medical doctor that put me on birth control and an anti-depressant to sleep through the night. I recently 2 months ago got off both to regain my other things back that I’ve lost in the process of being on these two things. It has been a rocky road to say the least, my poor husband and family. WOW!! Any help with doctors or Nurse Practioners to give me someplace to start would be oh so much appreciated.
        Thank you,
        Michelle

        • tanyaross said:

          Hi Michelle! Hormone imbalance is a difficult journey to be sure, but it can be done — I’ve done it before, and I’m determined to do it again! 🙂

          I personally see Steven Jones (he’s a nurse practitioner) at Alpine Clinic in Lehi (just south of the Smith’s on SR-92), but obviously his wife (Dr. Dianne Farley-Jones, who owns the practice) is also a provider I feel comfortable recommending, and I know other women who’ve seen Catherine Kipp and done well under her care. I’ve heard of 1-2 others in the SLC/Provo metro areas, but I can’t recall their names, sorry.

          You might also consider calling compounding pharmacies (CPRXs) in the area and asking them for recommendations for doctors who prescribe BHRT. There are at least 3 CPRXs that I know of in Utah County: Smith Rexall Drug in Pleasant Grove, Taylor Drug in American Fork, and Dry Creek Pharmacy in Lehi; the only CPRX I know of offhand in the SLC area is Jolley’s. HTH!

          be well,
          Tanya

  32. Tanya,
    Thank you so much for this information and your commitment to this blog! I have spent 100’s of hours researching this condition since I was diagnosed and after finding you tonight know that this has been the most helpful site I have ever found!

    I am 32 years old and have had PMDD since the age of 15, but only recognized what it was about 5 years ago. My doctor wont do hormone testing or prescribe BHRT, so out of desperation I started taking Lexapro in 2008. It did relieve the symptoms, but it also had major side effects. I also detest drugs because there is never REAL testing and 80% of drugs end up being recalled with attorneys running adds about “if you’ve taken *** and suffered these problems (usually causing permanent damage or loss of life) please call us to be a part of the next class action law suit…” But there is so little information regarding natural treatments for PMDD besides uneffective vitamin regemins etc. When I found out I was pregnant in December 2009, my ob/gyn said it was safe I should stay on the Lexapro. I immediately came home and started researching (its just what I do) and found 3 “class action lawsuits” regarding lexapro causing heart defects in unborn babies. My “weaning” took a total of 36 hours before it literally made me ill to think of putting a pill in my mouth that could be harming my baby. Needless to say that the “detoxing” period was miserable. It lasted over a month and I was suicidal about 3 weeks of that. But once I was off, I was very stable througout my pregnancy. I nursed for 18 months and remained stable throughout that process. I was always acutely aware of every mood swing, nervously waiting for my PMDD to show itself again. (I have 3 children and the most stable times of my life have been during pregnancy and during nursing.)

    Well, I have not been nursing for about 5 months now and the past 3 months my symptoms have returned, worsening every month. This month being the worst. I actually walked out on my family and told my husband I was never coming back. I was completely suicidal! I kept thinking that my family was much better off without my instability and monthly torture even though I love them dearly and cant bear the thought of being away from them. I am coming down from those thoughts now and can see that no matter how strongly I believed that then, it was completely UNTRUE. I normally would call it CRAZY, but I’m trying to get away from thinking of myself that way.

    I was so happy after my youngest son was born that the symptoms didn’t return. Now I am a whirlwind of emotion. Sadness, anger, confusion and desperation because I’m back to feeling hopeless that this will be what I have to deal with forever.

    I’ve considered the lexapro again. But I firmly believe that it will have major consequences if I choose to take it again. So I decided to research BHRT and if it can help with PMDD. After reading your posts, I have realized lack of sleep is also a MAJOR direct trigger for my “meltdowns”. Another issue in my family that has recently been brought to light is Celiac Disease. My mother, daughter and son have been diagnosed in the last 5 years. I know that I should be tested but like my bread so much that I have neglected it. But I also know that it can cause these types of problems. And I know after watching my daughter and son suffer major behavioral issues that resolved after going gluten free, that I too should be on this diet. I don’t really even need a test to prove it. Doctors are also very reluctant to test or diagnose celiac and gluten intolerance, like they are unlikely to recommend BHRT. I believe it is the same reason, that Big Pharma has nothing to gain from gluten free living or BHRT and therefore do not educate doctors on the benefits.

    So, here is my current plan of action and question for you:

    *Create an exercise regimen.
    *Begin a gluten free diet.
    *Focus on a sleep schedule and force myself to bed even when I’m wanting to clean at midnight.

    My question: In your personal experience opinion, do you think I should seek out BHRT as a part of this plan or give this plan an opportunity to allow my hormones to return to a balanced state before trying BHRT?

    Thank you again for this blog and your openess. You are definately achieving your goal of making a difference in women’s lives!!!

    Warmly,
    Amy

    • tanyaross said:

      Amy, my apologies for such a lengthy delay in posting your comment and then responding to it. Work took over my life for a few months, but now I’ve returned to a better work/life balance.

      How did you decide to proceed with addressing your symptoms and helping your body function properly? Whatever the approach, I usually suggest trying only one thing at a time, adding a new component or making a change maybe every 2-3 weeks, to make it easier to see what’s working VS what isn’t. I’m sure you know that other conditions (like celiac) can add additional layers of complication, making it much harder to figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. Just remember to be patient with yourself — there is no “one size fits all” answer, and it will take a lot of trial and error (hopefully with the help of a good medical practitioner) to find a solution that works for your body, lifestyle, and priorities. If you don’t mind sharing what you’re doing and what’s working for you, I’m sure other readers would benefit from your experience.

      Thanks so much for letting me know that my candid posts about hormone imbalance are helpful — reading things like that make it so much easier for me to continue blogging about my own journey.

      be well,
      Tanya

  33. Susan said:

    I just want to share that I experienced debilitating pmdd for way too many years and found a lot of relief in ACUPUNCTURE and herbs. The pill and psychiatric drugs only made me feel worse. I was scared to play around with hormones because of a very long family history of breast and gynecological cancers. Acupuncture was a life saver for me, in addition to monitoring stress levels, sleep, diet, and exercise.

  34. I have only recently been “diagnosed” with pmdd, however the condition has been ongoing and I feel like it’s getting worse since the birth of my last child who is now 13 months old. I keep reading that the mood swings are associated primarily around cycling time. My problem is I have these horrible symptons of major mood swings, lashing out at other people, constant negtivity, and I am very depressed, I look down on myself. The list goes on! It is effecting my relationships with family and friends. It is a helpless feeling wtih uncontrollable outburts towards anyone who crosses my path. Am I the only one who gets these all month long and not just before and durning my period.? Please help~~

    • tanyaross said:

      Hi Jennifer! Symptoms that aren’t related to your cycle could be caused by something else. HOWEVER, that being said, since your youngest is about 15 months old, you could be experiencing postpartum depression (PPD), which is really just a complication of your body trying to return to non-pregnancy hormone levels. PPD usually starts within a few weeks of delivery, but it can also have a “delayed onset,” in which case symptoms don’t appear for months or even a year after delivery. Either way, PPD can persist — sometimes for years — if not treated.

      Keeping in mind that I’m not a huge fan of allopathic (aka “traditional” or “Western”) medicine, for a variety of reasons, you may still want to ask your doctor to do a blood panel to check your hormone levels and then go from there. Good luck! And remember that when you’re having a bad day or feeling out of control, that’s not the real you — that’s your hormones run amok, so go easy on yourself while you look for a solution that works for your body and priorities.

      be well,
      Tanya

  35. I’ve been waiting for 5 plus years to finally treat my pmdd because I’ve had 2 children and I breastfeed over the age of 2. I’m not sure how much longer my littlest one is going to want it, he is going strong and turned 2 on Sunday. before I bleed or when I spot mid month I scream and rant. it’s embarrasing and uncontrollable. I know I’m hurting my family and it makes me so sad. so I am hoping bio identical hormone therapy is safe when you breastfeed, or I am back to the drawing board for a while…

    • tanyaross said:

      Hi Joy! I’m glad that my being willing to talk about my crazy hormone issues is so helpful for so many women.

      Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) uses hormones that EXACTLY mimic the hormones that your body makes by itself (NOT foreign substances that are close to natural hormones but different enough to be toxic and/or cancer-causing). Check with your medical practitioner, but BHRT shouldn’t interfere with breastfeeding. HTH, and good luck!

      be well,
      Tanya

  36. and thank you for talking about it!

  37. knobert said:

    I know no one has been on here in some time, but in case anyone is still reviewing these boards, maybe someone can help or steer us in the right direction

    My wife does have PMDD and endometriosis, has all the signs and symptoms and everything else that has been described on here. Like most of you I do not want her nor does she want to be on ADs. I feel they are not doing anything but just helping you deal, but what happens when its time to come off?

    As far as her endo goes, its been in check since she went and it addressed at a specialist(unfortunately we had to go out of state to find someone who would listen and address it appropriately).

    Have any of you found any doctors that have aided you? We live in Long Island, NY so if anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

    This is beoming an uphill battle for both of us. i do not look down on her or pity her, but I am concerned for both of our well beings and want her to be happy again and not just medicated.

    -M

    • tanyaross said:

      I’m hoping you’ll see my reply here, M, since you also posted this comment on another (much older and harder to find) post — I thought it would be better to reply in only one place, and since my readers seem to find this page very easily, I decided posting here would also help more people.

      I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m not a big fan of allopathic medicine — my opinion is that most doctors 1) treat symptoms in a vacuum instead of holistically and 2) push pills for quick fixes (I can’t blame docs entirely; most Americans want immediate gratification and instant relief from symptoms, and honestly that’s just dangerous when it comes to medicine, but I digress). So I don’t blame you or your wife for not wanting her to be on ADs for the rest of her life — believe me, that’s no way to live.

      Some of my readers have experienced relief through modalities like acupuncture (you might try the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture as a resource), through dietary and other lifestyle changes (Women to Women has some really helpful info along those lines), as well as through bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). BHRT can only be prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner and is prepared by a compounding pharmacy, so you can generally back into which medical professionals work with BHRT patients by finding a compounding pharmacy near you and then asking the pharmacy to recommend doctor’s offices for BHRT in your area.

      I know it’s not easy to see your wife suffering from physical problems that she seems to have so little control over, and I applaud your willingness to actively support her in her journey to find the treatments she needs to be well and happy. Good luck to both of you! 🙂

  38. Chelsea said:

    I would like to just thank you sincerely for this article. In the past few days, I’ve done several researches beginning with “webmd.com” to do a symptom check. For most of my life (I’m a petite 35yr old and had my first period at age 8 ), I’ve had what I thought was severe PMS. Now for the record, I’ve not yet been to a doctor to be properly diagnosed. Every physician I’ve been to in the past has had “no clue” as to what my condition was and only suggested exploratory surgery to see if something else was going on physically.

    I came across PMDD yesterday when “webmd” referred this as a possible condition. After reading several articles on various websites, I immediately had my husband of 9 yrs read them himself without me interfering. His first response: “This is you to a T.” My husband’s usual response each month is “this stuff takes over most of your life…at least 2 wks out of the month.” He is a very patient man, for that I’m thankful.

    Each month I begin showing symptoms a few days after ovulation (which I feel sharp pain each month – I do not have cysts, this has been checked). The first symptom is usually rage. The slightest thing will set me off in a tantrum. Even friends will notice I’m becoming very curt with them. Second, I start to distance myself from my husband. I’m no longer in the mood and won’t be till after my period. Then begins the emotional crying or tearing up over nothing. I won’t leave the house, not even to do something relaxing like get a pedicure. In the final week before my period, I begin to have cramps that send me bending over and just about fainting. I start to become numb from the pelvis down, breasts are tender, minor headaches and back ache begin, bloating, food cravings for things I wouldn’t normally eat (junk food)…then what I can only describe as “contractions” occur just before the start of my cycle. I do not have children, so that may be a stretch, but I’ll start feeling a numbing pain building till “WHAM” a cramp sends me crying and balled up in bed….then begins my period for which only lasts anywhere from a half a day to three days with light bleeding.

    This is probably more than you wanted to know, but it makes me feel better to relate this to someone who has more than just “severe PMS.” I too feel like rolling my eyes when someone says “oh yeah, I have that too just not two weeks before my period”…..it’s not the same, you and I know this.

    While the jury is out on whether I do have this disorder or not, it does make me feel better knowing that there’s something more out there than just PMS. I’ll continue to do more research, find a proper doctor and treatment plan and in the meantime get back to a healthier diet and exercise program.

    Again, THANK YOU!

    • tanyaross said:

      Chelsea, you’re so welcome! I know the hardest thing for me for a VERY long time was thinking that I was alone, that nobody else really understood what I was going through or how miserable I was through no fault of my own. That feeling of loneliness drove me to share my experience and hopefully encourage other women who, like me, just want to find ways to help our bodies function properly so we can enjoy the “normal” life that so many others take for granted. If my blog has helped you feel less alone in your journey, then I’m accomplishing what I set out to do, and that makes me very happy. 🙂 XOXO

  39. Anna Sprayberry said:

    so i cried like 8 times hard today and about 5 times yesterday and at least 4 or 5 the day before but i knew in the back of my mind it was just doing it on it’s own. ( i guess my body? ) whatever i mean i knew it was uncontrollable by me. i knew that it was against my will and there was nothing i could do about it. also i have muscle pain and headaches and im tired i get really selfish about 2 weeks of every month and really crazy almost irrational and make stuff up and noone is ever nice enough to me when im sad. nothign works. i am usually soo happy then all the sudden i am fighting against myself in the brain and im sad as anything the whole self pitty thing comes in to play and i do get mad sometimes … mostly psycho. i have bad cramps! i am never mean to anyone but myself but i am so mean to myself that other people can tell and it ruins their day because/ im just plain sad , dissapointed and crazy and anxious. what is this is it PMDD ? whatever it is it has gotten wayyy worse

    • tanyaross said:

      Anna, since you say your symptoms are in sync with your cycle and they’re severe enough to interfere with normal activities, it sounds like you could very likely have PMDD. Talk to your doctor, or find a doctor who really listens to you — you need a medical professional who actually understands hormone imbalance (most don’t), so he or she can evaluate your symptoms and help you work on finding treatment/s that will support your body in functioning normally. In the mean time, try to be patient, and go easy on yourself — you know it’s not “you” when you feel crazy and out of control, so cut yourself some slack while you’re looking for solutions that will work for you and your life. HTH, and good luck!

      be well,
      Tanya

  40. Michelle Thomas said:

    I think I have found a place to start to get not only help but to feel normal. Whatever that may be. I had my first and only child at 39. No one ever thought that would happen. It is great; however, I haven’t changed. It seems to be worse. Several doctors chalk it up to PMS and now post partum depression. The symptoms are worse. I have zero patience with my daughter or anyone else. My body hurts so bad I am taking glucosamine because the doctors are trying to fugure

    • tanyaross said:

      Michelle, are your symptoms in sync with your menstrual cycle? If not, you could be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD; see my comment above {#37} to another reader) or even perimenopause. I have another post about perimenopause here, but the biggest difference between PMDD and perimenopause is that PMDD symptoms are 1) cyclical and 2) consistently present, usually until your period starts, and then they typically reappear again around ovulation (about Day 12 to 14 of your cycle); with perimenopause, the appearance of symptoms is mostly random and unpredictable, with no apparent connection to your cycle; and with PPD, the symptoms are pretty much constant.

      But whether you’re suffering from PPD, PMDD, or perimenopause, all of these conditions are indicative of hormone imbalance, and treating that imbalance is the best way to achieve real and lasting wellness. HTH, and good luck!

      be well,
      Tanya

  41. Kate said:

    Hi Tanya,

    thanks for your post on PMDD. I have only just been diagnosed with it after having months of thinking I was a nutcase. For the two weeks before my period I am severely depressed, anxious and irritable – to the point of considering suicide (although I am able to recognise that these thoughts are not ‘real’ but my hormones acting up).

    One thing I find people don’t understand is that, while there are two weeks every month that I don’t have the symptoms of PMDD, those two weeks are still hard because I know that within a few weeks I will be there again. My job suffers, my friendships suffer, my marraige suffers.

    I’ve finally convinced my doctor to send me to a specialist – basically by saying I could not keep going through this every month and also by making it clear that I could lose my job because of the time I have off.

    I’m not convinced there is an answer that will result in no PMDD, but if it could be just a little bit bearable that would be great.

    Thanks again Tanya – I don’t feel so alone now.

    Kate

    • tanyaross said:

      Kate, I’m so glad you know you’re not alone in this! I’m curious what kind of specialist you might be going to see — when I called a handful of endocrinologists out here, they were useless for non-fertility-related hormone issues. BLAH. I had no idea what other kind of medical professional might know enough about hormones to help me manage mine, so I was very fortunate to be directed to the clinic I go to now. I wish you the very best of luck finding a medical professional who can help you with a treatment that works for your body and your lifestyle. 🙂

      be well,
      Tanya

  42. Yasmin said:

    Hi Tanya, thank you for your article. I too have hormonal imbalance. Just few months ago I decided to stop taking pills and because of this I have gain so much weight and yes, I have a depression that I think is related to my gain weight and also my hair is thinner. My hormonal imbalance triggered when I had stress in my office work years ago but now I’m still into a dilemma about this problem. I have tried taking plant roots and other medication just to see if it’ll work beside taking pills. I was wrong. I am now 32. I hope that this month I’ll be able to meet a doctor to advice me on what to do with my problem. I used to take Yasmin Pills which according to my doctor have a small dosage of hormones. I have mood swings that I thought was related to the pills I was taking. I hope that it’s not too late for me to fix this problem regarding my health. Although I am pretty much okay in terms of peace and happiness. My mind is set to trash all unnecessary problems in mind, the only problem is when my emotion over cloud my mind setting. I have a question though..regarding food diet since I live in a country where we eat rice in every meal. Do you suggest that I starve myself into diet and exercise in order to lose weight or this is also a hormonal problem that I need to take medication in order to regain my old self?

    • tanyaross said:

      Yasmin, I’m not a medical professional or a dietician/nutritionist, but I wouldn’t ever recommend starving yourself for any reason! Proper nutrition, exercise, and rest are all part of maintaining healthy hormone levels. Weight gain can definitely be a hormone-related issue (I’m struggling with an extra 12 kilos myself right now), but drastic measures like crash diets will most likely only make the problem worse over time, even though you might see some short-term weight loss. Work with your doctor if s/he is able to advise you about balancing your hormones; if that’s not an area s/he has much experience in, perhaps s/he can refer you to someone else. Most importantly, try to be patient — with yourself and with your treatments. The best treatments usually take time to work, but the results are also much more likely to last much longer, too.

      I don’t think it’s ever “too late” to make the effort to take care of your body and enjoy good health 🙂 Good luck, and be well!

  43. TO EVERY ONE THAT SUFFERS THIS DEBILITATING CONDITION I WAS FINALLY HELPED USING YAZ, TESTOSTERONE AND DHEA. BUY A CALENDER AND EVERY MONTH RIGHT DOWN HOW YOU FEEL EXAMPLES,, FEEL WRONG SEVERE EXHAUSTION SEVERE SWEATING
    CRYING SPELLS, MOODSWINGS, PAIN AND BLOOD PRESSURE DROP ETC. YOU WILL SEE EVERY MONTH YOUR SYMPTOMS WILL BE THE SAME EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH EXP; 1ST TO 12TH OF THE MONTH SEVERE SWEATING- REAL BAD DAYS 7TH 9TH 13TH SO ON. MY SYMPTOMS ALL DISAPPEARED WHEN I USED THAT COMBINATION. WE ALL NEED ONE THING THE RIGHT DR. THAT’S WERE THE PROBLEM IS THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL THAT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. WISH THERE WAS A BOOK THAT HAD THE BEST HOLISTIC DR’S GUIDE FOR HORMONAL NIGHTMARE. THE REASON I RIGHT THIS IS BECAUSE I HAD TO GET OFF OF YAZ DUE TO BREAST PROBLEMS. NOW I’M OUT OF CONTROL ONCE AGAIN. SUSZANNE SUMMERS BOOK DR’S THERE WERE WORTHLESS** HOPE THIS HELPS

    • tanyaross said:

      Theresa,

      In future, I suggest not using all caps online, it’s actually quite rude (it’s considered shouting)—there’s really no reason to shout at me or anyone else.

      I’m glad you found something that worked for you. Not every woman has the same body chemistry or suffers from the same hormone imbalance you do, which is exactly why “one size fits all” recommendations don’t work. On the contrary, what works for your body might actually make another woman very sick!! Many women have actually experienced extremely dangerous side effects from Yaz, including blood clots, stroke, and tumours — no thanks! And personally I would have a lot more problems than I do now if I were to start the testosterone therapy that worked for you — testosterone is not what MY body needs.

      As I said, I’m glad you found a solution for your own imbalance, but please offer it as one possible treatment that might work based on your experience, not as “THE” definitive solution. There is no such thing as a “definitive solution” in medicine, despite what western/allopathic medicine might preach.

      ~~T

  44. Michele said:

    I need to read books on this issue. Everyone in my family don’t want to be around me 1 week before my period. I jump out of my car because a older lady ran a stop sign and almost hit me. I wanted to pull her out of her car. I need something to help me. I feel like I am going to lose my family or be put in jail. Once I start my period I become back to my old calm 42 year old lady. That’s loves her family.

    • tanyaross said:

      Michele, I can definitely relate to that “Jekyll and Hyde” feeling! Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) has done wonders for helping my body function properly. Be kind to yourself and remember you’re not the horribly out-of-control person you feel like during “hell week”—hang in there, and keep looking for information and treatments that will be appropriate for you and your priorities. Good luck, and be well! ~~T

  45. I was prescribed birth control pills by my doc as we didn’t want to have kids immediately. That .is when my life went havoc. I started getting weird symptoms. Pain in breasts, kind of edgy feeling all the time….I tried telling my gynac but she always dismissed it telling me that my body is just adjusting. I got frustrated n stooped taking pills. U was on hmo and found that they gave importance only for pregnancy n other life threatening cases n not life altering cases. After I stopped the pills I started getting major symptoms like brain fogging,constipation, around two weeks of sleepless nights which lasted at least 15days/month, aches n pains n major depression. This continued for 3 years and my doctors at hmo were uncaring. They would tell me to take over the counter drugs likepamprin. Every time I would go, they would conduct a pelvis exam n dismiss me. I tried all kinds is teas and alternative medicine, but no avail. After 3 long years when we had more resources we changed to ppo n my gynac immediately diagnosed it as pmdd. It wad like solving a big zigsaw puzzle. I was given prozac and my doctor said it will only treat the symptoms and not solve the problem. He told to exercise every day. I started yoga on alternative days and took long walks n cycling.after 3 months I am off prozac now. If I take a break from yoga, the symptoms come back after few days of inactivity. I had severe symptoms for 18 days before my periods.now I get anxiety, but only 3-4 days before. I eat a lot of mushrooms which seems to help me with my constipation. Oats n sweet potato- I include these a lot too. I also try to follow a vegetarian diet. I am an Asian Indian,so its easy for me too cook vegetarian food. Meditation helps me too and I took a course recently. I am off prozac for now and hope all the symptoms don’t come back. I also did juice fasting for 3 days n that seemed to help too. I was also diagnosed with SAD and I invested in a light which helps me to manage SAD
    I came across this website when I was just diagnosed with pmdd and I found so much support here reading about so many women. It made me feel I was not alone. Thank you all.

    • tanyaross said:

      Sia, I’m so glad you found something that helps your body function properly! I’m also grateful to know that reading the conversation here let you know you’re not alone in your struggle, thank you for sharing that with me 🙂 Diet and nutrition, exercise, stress relief and meditation can all be powerful components of a successful treatment regimen, so good for you for finding ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle! ~~T

  46. dani said:

    Hello. I just recently went to the Dr. over my periods. I’ve probably always had a pretty bad menstrual cycle, but I never paid much attention to it. I was always told welcome to be a woman, but I never thought that was a very good response. So I started keeping a mental check list for it… and over a year’s time I discovered that about a week before my period I cycle through many different symptoms that are associated with PMDD. The mood swings are terrible. I would go from being fine to sad to angry and it’d all be within a span of 30 minutes. Over and over… I’d have issues sleeping. I’d either sleep too much or couldn’t sleep at all. I’d have dreams that you could call “fever” dreams… they just were very vivid and strange. Fatigue was the worst part. It was hard to maintain a customer service attitude when I just wanted to curl up in a ball and fall asleep into sweet sweet oblivion. I would eat so much during that week, and it would never be enough. I’d crave everything. Sometimes I’d be really anxious for no reason I could discern. I’d get headaches and back aches and cramps. I’d have hot flashes. It was awful. My best friend described me as insufferable. It just seemed like over the years my period just got worse and worse and then I finally paid attention to it. All those things occurred every time a week or 2 before the bleeding actually began. Then after about a day of the actual menses, I’d feel better. I’d feel normal. I thought that I was just being ridiculous, and I kept lying to myself and saying oh it was just a bad period, but the truth was that it was a long line of bad periods. Now I am researching the disorder, and I see a bunch of controversy surrounding it. I am not really sure if it is just because of how it is being classified, but I can tell you that it is SOMETHING and it is REAL. It started running my life. I’d just be waiting every month for my happiness and normality to go away. I’d wait because I knew it was coming and I knew it would affect me and I knew I’d change. It was like a veil coming down over my eyes. I did not do my job well and I pushed all the people I loved away because at the time I hated them so much. I didn’t want to do anything but hibernate. I have been given Prozac to treat it, and I have only gone through one cycle, but that cycle seemed to improve. We will see with the next one. Depression does run among the women in my family, but this was too coincidental to just be depression. It was always around my period that these symptoms began occurring.

    • dani said:

      PS I was diagnosed with PMDD, but the Dr. simply started me on the Prozac for 2 months to see if it helps. I was desperate to not feel that way anymore, so I just began this regiment. I am absolutely against handing drugs out like this, but he really didn’t hesitate when I told him all my symptoms.

    • tanyaross said:

      Dani, you’re NOT crazy, and it’s NOT all in your head! Hormone imbalance is very real, and as you and I and everyone else here knows it can be debilitating. For many of us recognizing the timing of our symptoms (always in sync with our menstrual cycles) was part of the breakthrough that led us to find solutions. Keep learning and looking for info—I wish you the best of luck finding the right solution for you and your lifestyle! 🙂 Be well ~~T

  47. Elaine said:

    Answer : if You all above would only ask and pray to God then maybe you would have some chance at healing.

    • tanyaross said:

      Elaine, I’m a devout Christian myself, but your “answer” is a simplistic and dismissive response that marginalizes a legitimate medical condition. Would you tell a diabetic to “just” pray to be healed? I hope not! While I advocate prayer in whatever form it takes for the person offering it, and doing so often, people should also be encouraged to educate themselves about their bodies and the world we live in and to use whatever temporal resources they have access to. “Pray like everything depends on the Lord, and work like everything depends on you.” I don’t believe that God will do for us things that we can do for ourselves; I don’t believe that physical infirmity is “punishment” for wrongdoing; and I don’t believe that we should be instantly and completely relieved of our pain and suffering: 1) my bad days make my good days that much more precious to me (“opposition in all things”), and 2) if nobody ever suffered anything, how would we bear one another’s burdens, as the scriptures teach us? (Gal 6:2) I do believe that God has inspired people to develop treatments that are effective and complement the natural function of the body (in other words, not pharmaceutical drugs), and that if we’re patient and willing to learn, we can find solutions—both temporal and spiritual—that work for us and allow us to bless the lives of others in the process. ~~T

      • Lisa said:

        Tanya,

        Thank you for all the information you have posted here and for the absolutely fantastic response to Elaine. I have struggled with PMDD for years and tried everything. I have clinically been diagnosed bipolar II but feel this a misrepresentation as I can track my moods on a calendar to the minute. Why I respond on this thread – because I too am a devout Christian woman and I pray more hours in a day that one can imagine, if I didn’t, I probably wouldn’t be here. The Lord holds my hand and walks with me through my day, sometimes carrying me, sometimes just walking with me, but knowing He is there doesn’t make the terrible thoughts, feeling, emotions, etc go away, He just reminds me there is light in all the darkness.

        • tanyaross said:

          Lisa, you’re very welcome—I’m glad you find my blog and all of the comments here helpful. I didn’t want to disrespect the power of prayer, but I do believe that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17, 26). Some days are better than others, but even on my worst days I cling to the knowledge that God loves me and wants me to be happy, and that He won’t give me more than I can bear with His help, and that help may come in any number of ways. I also take a lot of comfort in knowing that I’m helping other women in their own struggles with hormone imbalance, even if it’s “just” that they don’t feel so alone and get some validation that they’re not crazy. Faith takes many forms, and whether my readers are Christian or not, having hope in something bigger than ourselves can be a very comforting thing, especially when we’re trying to cope with something as frustrating as a physical body that doesn’t seem to want to function properly. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

          Be well,
          Tanya

  48. Linda said:

    OMG….i have just read about pmdd when I read I read me and my behaviour. I have always suffered as I thought was pmt bad moods, sadness and so on. Two days ago I ended up in hospital due to and overdose no I don’t want to die. But 10/14 days before my period it is like I am in a very black hole..reading another artical it listed the symtoms it was me all over. I am seeing a consultant at the hospital a special pmt/clinc.

  49. Linda said:

    Cont….what can I do to help pmdd and what can the my Dr/clinc do. I am not mad but I don’t want to be fobed off either. I had my first period at 11 I am now 36.

    • tanyaross said:

      Linda, I’m so glad you didn’t succeed in your attempt to end your life! I know it’s SO hard to think clearly when your hormones are out of control, but during that fortnight before your period starts, please try to remember that’s NOT the real you. There IS hope, so please Please PLEASE don’t consider a permanent solution to a temporary (albeit extremely difficult and frustrating) problem.

      When you talk to your doctor, ask him (or her) to do a complete hormone panel: progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA-S—it’s a simple blood test, and you should get the results back quickly. The hormone panel will indicate which of your hormones is/are out of whack and by how much, which will assist your doc in determining appropriate treatments. If your doc is unwilling to test your hormone levels, or if he wants to give you a bunch of chemical drugs based on your lab results, consider finding another health care provider, one who will help you find ways to naturally support your body’s proper function.

      Poor habits with sleep, diet, and exercise can all contribute to hormone imbalance as well, and high stress levels are a factor in hormone imbalance for many women, too. Do what you can to eliminate or reduce stress in your life; regular exercise will help improve your stress response by releasing endorphins into your body. Try to get 7-8 hours of good quality sleep at night—sleep is so much more important than most people recognize! It’s difficult to sleep well when your hormones are out of balance, so cut yourself some slack there; again, regular exercise may help you sleep better (not sure why that works, but it does, at least for me). If caffeine, refined sugars and artificial sweeteners (like aspartame), and tobacco are currently part of your lifestyle, consider eliminating them—I know other women have reported that those small changes made a big difference for them. None of these things individually will correct the problem, but in concert together with bio-identical hormone therapy, it IS possible to use natural treatments to help your body function properly so you can enjoy a normal life.

      As you look for treatments that work for your body’s unique chemistry, as well as with your lifestyle and priorities, please keep in mind that there is no safe, effective quick fix, nor is there an easy “one size fits all” solution. It will take a lot of patience on your part and a willingness to experiment with treatments in partnership with a medical provider you trust, but I have faith that you CAN find something that will help you get control of your hormones and your life.

      Good luck, and be well 🙂
      ~~T

  50. I thought PMDD described me to a tee, but recently I had blood work done which revealed a condition called PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome). This was a surprise to me because I have none of the tell tale androgenic signs of this problem. It is a combination of too much testosterone and an lh/ fsh ratio greater than 1:1 during follicular or luteal phase of the cycle. In this condition a woman does not ovulate, but rather the released eggs stay on the ovary and form cysts. It can be painful, causes infertility and is linked to insulin resistance. It can cause severe mood swings, and rages.

    I am just putting this out there for some of you who, like me, might never have had any blood work done. In some ways its reassuring to see that there are measurable abnormalities. In my case, I think I misdiagnosed myself with PMDD.

    In a final, less general, note, my blood work also showed several autoimmune problems. I’m not saying this is likely going on with everyone. However, infections like lyme, epstein barr etc. can throw off your h-p-a axis, causing hormonal disturbances.

    • tanyaross said:

      I’m glad you were able to find out what was causing problems for you—hopefully now your health care providers will be able to help you find a treatment that allows your body to function properly. Self-diagnosis can be dicey, but at least you did some research and had something to discuss with your doctor. Whether it’s PMDD or PCOS, you knew something was wrong with the way your body was behaving, and even though you may have started off in the wrong direction, your doc was able to provide you with a course correction that should steer you toward wellness. Thanks for sharing your experience, and good luck!

  51. Lucy said:

    Hi,
    Thank you for this website. It is very helpful. I have had moodswings since my teenage days. It has affected me in that my friends avoid me or dissappear completely. My happy family is a lot of times not as happy as they should be. I am yet to find a doctor who may help me.

  52. Wow so much great information here!

    I am the boyfriend of a woman that is suffering from this and this blog has shown me some light at the end of the tunnel. I get her “normal” for between 3 and 7 days a month and then she starts withdrawing, being distant, unable to be affectionate or intimate etc etc. I guess after reading these posts i am one of the lucky guys in comparison, she is not violent nor does she scream at me but her emotions are hard to keep up with, one minute she is happy the next minute she is what seems grumpy or annoyed….. and i have done nothing wrong.

    I first noticed her “moods” about 1.5 or two months after we got together, we had been friends for around 6 months before and I had not noticed anything odd or abnormal before we started dating. After noticing a significant change i suggested she talk to my counsellor (i suffered from depression early this year) as i thought some of her symptoms were depression related based on my experience with my own demons…. She realised that it was not infact me that was the problem, she had just assumed that her previous partners had a lot of issues (well they did but i wont get into that) and put the her “moods” and distancing down to their attitudes towards her.

    After seeing my counsellor a few times, she had worked through some stuff but she still wasn’t right so through the advise of both the counsellor and other avenues she has gone down the natural path and she has found she is producing too much estrogen among other imbalances. I have not noticed significant changes as yet (its only been a few weeks) and it is still very difficult and frustrating to “lose” my girlfriend for a few weeks out of the month but to all you guys out there potentially reading this, stay with your partner and support her how she needs it the best you can! My girl is doing all she can to get herself and our relationship better and although at times we both get mad at each other because of what it does to the both of us, i know how amazing she is and how much the outcome will be worth all the effort!

    This blog has given me the hope and reassurance that i have not been able to get until now, to see so many of you suffering from the same thing

    From now on, every time i get down and upset about not being able to be close to my favourite person because PMDD has taken over, i will come and read this blog to remind me that we are not alone in this fight.

  53. Lisa said:

    Its so nice to hear that there are other women that go through the same thing as me. It sucks when you try to explain it to doctors or other women and they look at you like your crazy and pretty much tell you that it cant be that bad. I wish that It wasnt this bad. The migrains, body aches, horrible fatigue, mood swings, chills, sweats, and just feeling plain icky gets so sickening. When its not that time of the month, I feel great! It interferes with EVERYTHING! Im 30yrs old and my fiance’ and I (been 2gether for 11yrs) have an 8 yr old daughter. Im unemployed because of this condition and I cant enjoy things that I normally would if it wasnt that time. One doc told me not to schedule anything for that week! Ummm, ok…thats almost possible! I’ll just tell employers that I cant work for 1-2 wks out of the month! What do u do to help your PMDD? Thank u so much for this article, it helps me realize that Im not alone.

  54. Eliza said:

    Tanya, would you email me with information about what has worked for you?
    Thanks!

  55. Danielle said:

    I am curious if it’s possible to be on Yaz for PMDD treatment and use BHRT at the same time? I’ve had PMDD for about three years. Prozac, viatmins, diet, exercise have not worked for me. Yaz has helped a lot, but not as much as I’d like. The rage has died down considerably, but the ups and downs emotionally, insomnia, inability to concentrate, bloating, and fatigue have not. I did find a compounding pharmacy near me, but I haven’t a clue what kind of doctor to go to. I’m concerned on top of my PMDD that I could have a thyroid problem that may be making my PMDD worse since the endocrine system controls the sex hormones. My levels have been checked twice- over a year ago. I believe it was my T4 that was higher than the range it should have been in. My TSH was at the very bottom of the range it should’ve been in. The doctor looked me straight in my face and told me both levels should be closer to the middle of the range, and that treating them would likely improve many of my symptoms, but that they weren’t outside of range enough to treat me. That was a regular primary care dr. What kind of DR’s use compounding pharmacies?

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