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.
- 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.
- 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):
Ageless: the naked truth about bioidentical hormones, by Suzanne Somers
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.