PMDD: What finally worked for me

this has been a long time coming, so pls bear w/me as I try condensing 3 years of trial and error into less than a small book ;\ lol

my only child (my daughter Vivienne) was born in October of 2003; after Viv was born I suffered from SEVERE post-partum depression and had to be put on medication (generic Zoloft) just to be able to function on a daily basis, until my hormones rebalanced themselves almost 2 yrs later… in May 2006 I moved from Texas to Utah and married my husband Larry, and within just a few months I was struggling w/full-blown PMDD, only I didn’t yet know what it was, but if you’ve read my “PMDD: What it is, what it isn’t” page, you already know how I recognized something was very VERY wrong w/me physically, having grown up w/a mother who suffered for decades w/undiagnosed PMDD… I went back on anti-depressants, thinking they would help; they did reduce the severity of my PMDD, but they also left me completely emotionally detached from my family: if my new husband or my own daughter had been hit by a bus, I’m not sure I would’ve felt any sense of loss at all (and on a purely intellectual level I knew there was something extremely, dangerously wrong w/that, so I had my dr take me off the anti-depressants again — I could NOT continue to go through life like a robot)…

my journey to true wellness started one night in March of 2008 as I was watching something (I can’t remember what) on Style network and they happened to air an advert about PMDD… the symptoms and patterns described sounded EXACTLY like what I had been experiencing, and thus began a year-long research frenzy that would finally end — or so I thought — in my finding a doctor who was able to help me find significant relief through bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT); while the BHRT helped quite a bit, it turned out to not be the final solution I thought it was…

during my extensive and intensive research I learned that hormones don’t just unbalance themselves; there is always something that whacks them out: sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s illness, sometimes it’s diet or lifestyle — there are any number of things that can affect our hormones and their delicate balance more than we (or even the medical community at large) realize… in my case it turned out to be stress that was causing my severe hormone imbalance and the associated PMDD, and I didn’t figure that out until my marriage unraveled in late September last year…

while Larry and I were separated, my daughter and I lived in my parents’ basement, sleeping on sofas and living out of suitcases; when I’d married Larry I’d quit my full-time job to be a stay-home mum and was suddenly faced w/the prospect of having to go back to work full-time and put my preschool-age daughter into day care, something I’d never had to do (I’d had the luxury of telecommuting for my former employer)… I was under considerable stress during my separation from my husband, and yet within a month my hormones had rebalanced themselves: TAKING my Rx BHRT suddenly gave me horrible migraines whereas before, when my hormones were unbalanced, I would have wicked migraines if I did NOT take my BHRT as Rx’d… I realized that the stress I was under being separated from my husband was quite different from the stress I was experiencing in our marriage, and when I finally explained to Larry what was going on w/me physically, he was quite upset thinking that we’d never be able to patch things up and get back together if the stress of being married to him was incapacitating me physically; I told him that would only be the case if there was no hope of changing the dynamic of our relationship, and he agreed that our situation was NOT hopeless and that our marriage was indeed worth fighting to save…

Larry and I were blessed to have a loving and concerned bishop (our local pastor) who referred us to a relationship coaching program called “Marriage Matters” at Townsend Relationship Center up in SLC — we participated in the 12-wk course, which we started while we were still separated; Viv and I moved back into our home almost exactly a month after Larry and I had split up. “Marriage Matters” gave us the communication tools and skills we needed to talk to each other about serious issues that were affecting our marriage, and even tho’ these problems were almost entirely external factors that couldn’t be changed or even influenced much by us, we were now able to safely discuss our perspectives and agree on a unified approach to dealing w/them together… none of this happened overnight, and we still don’t communicate perfectly, but now our whole marriage is so incredibly different than how it was a mere 10 mos ago, it’s frankly nothing short of miraculous; even after Larry was laid off in April, I only experienced minor stress-induced hormonal fluctuations that made me a bit tetchy at times (on a side note Lar started a new job this week, after 4-1/2 mos out of work, and my own little business is picking up steam as well), but since October of 2008 I haven’t experienced anything like the severe PMDD symptoms that had previously plagued me and my family…

UPDATED TO ADD: now that emotional stress is almost a non-factor in my medical health, we’ve been able to identify sleep deprivation (usu caused by hub’s snoring) as another major factor that easily tips my hormones out of balance. we’re working on resolving the snoring issue, and the sadly familiar symptoms of imbalance (insomnia, exacerbated by hub’s snoring, creating a vicious cycle; dramatic mood swings for 2 wks/mo; practically eating the house down; night sweats; skin blemishes; brittle, peeling fingernails; etc.) are diminishing as my hormones slowly come back into balance again, this time even w/o any support from BHRT treatments.

bottom line: identifying and addressing the underlying causes of my hormone imbalance was finally what cured my PMDD

one final thought: please note that my experience is NOT necessarily going to apply exactly to anyone else — we are all very different, and the individual causes of every woman’s hormone imbalance will take time, patience, and diligence (or as in my own case, disaster) to discover and then carefully and thoroughly address — but it’s my sincere prayer that my story gives just one other woman hope for herself and her own life…

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8 thoughts on “PMDD: What finally worked for me”

  1. Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it’s nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

  2. Hey, I stumbled across your site through Yahoo and just wanted to say that I love it. I’ll definitely be bookmarking it!

  3. -Just starting Bioidentical hormones to help my PMDD. The first month (Dec) was better, but then compound pharmacist increased progesterone based on saliva test results, and last cycle was crazy and I felt crazy! Went back to compound pharmacist, and she again doubled the dose for this upcoming cycle. I have already put on 5 pounds, and I am nervous about this next cycle approaching. How long did it take you to get balanced while taking Bioidentical Hormones? I live in Utah as well, and I have already spent over $1000 easily in just 3 months?

  4. Thanks for encouraging others ladies who are going through the same.

  5. I are already a supporter of your internet site. Only wished to say good day.

  6. Nicole said:

    I live in Utah as well. What doctor did you go to? I am having horrible PMDD problems.

    • tanyaross said:

      Hi Nicole! I get a lot of requests for this info, so I’ve decided I really need to create a reference page especially for women here in Utah—check back in a day or so and I’ll have that up 🙂

      ~~T

  7. Nicole said:

    Thanks so much! I really appreciate it.

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