Hello beautiful people. Today I wanted to talk to you a little about health and living with PMDD. PMDD, because you may not know, stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. PMDD is one of the chronic invisible illnesses that I have. I was diagnosed with PMDD in late 2019, but have likely had it much longer.
To be clear, I am not a doctor or a medical professional. I am sharing my experiences with my condition. Please see the full disclaimer at the bottom.
What is PMDD?
PMDD is an extreme form of premenstrual syndrome. Now you may think, oh, it’s just your period or it’s just PMS, no big deal. That’s where you’d be wrong! It’s so much more than ‘just PMS.’ Along with my other chronic invisible illnesses like anxiety, it affects me physically, mentally, and emotionally. And it exacerbates my other health issues. Read more in depth about PMDD at Medical News Today.
Why Does PMDD Happen?
Doctors currently say they don’t know the exact cause of PMDD. I know I personally am very sensitive to my hormonal and seratonin changes. There are a lot of theories thrown around that it has to do with these hormonal and seratonin changes. More research needs to be devoted to it.
What PMDD Feels Like to Me
The symptoms I experience vary from month to month. Some months I may just have minimal cramping, fatigue and brain fog. Usually, I start feeling on edge and irritated by things that normally wouldn’t bother me. I get painful, debilitating cramps, my breasts get sore, and I experience hot flashes in bed when I’m trying to sleep. I bruise easily all the time. I sometimes get migraines, I often feel like I have very little energy.
For a while I struggled to fall asleep even though I was utterly exhausted. It sometimes makes it difficult for me to focus and I lose joy in my hobbies. I start to feel paranoid and like people hate me. I’ll burst into tears over a little thing that wouldn’t bother me otherwise.
Sometimes, it feels like I only have one or two good weeks a month.
Why is PMDD Worse Some Months
PMDD fluctuates each month because of so many internal and external factors, most out of my control. One of the things I had to do to get a diagnosis was keep a mood journal and track how I was feeling and what happened each day. It became pretty evident that stress triggers me. Stress makes my symptoms worse. Extreme stress makes it so I can’t sleep and have crazy mood swings. Some people claim that PMDD ruins their lives, and I can totally understand why. I often feel like I have to be constantly second guessing my brain and its decisions when it comes to people and relationships. Read about how the sex hormone-sensitive gene complex is linked to premenstrual mood disorder.
I’ve found that alcohol makes my PMDD worse, too. So it’s just another reason for me to rarely have a drink.
What Doctor Do You See?
I originally received my PMDD diagnosis from a gynecologist after my therapist determined that some of the symptoms I experienced were not just severe PMS, which I’ve had all my life. The gyn had me try a lot of different treatments, none of which worked for me. I am so sensitive to hormonal changes I cannot even take hormonal birth control anymore. I cannot use an IUD. Some of the gyns I’ve seen about this issue have been very dismissive, which is disappointing when you’re talking about an issue that can make your life hell and make you doubt yourself.
Serenol was the absolute worst of all the treatments. It exacerbated my condition to the extreme and made me a different person. I cried for hours each night during the time I tried it.
How I Treat My PMDD
Like many illnesses that don’t primarily affect men, there aren’t a lot of great medical options for it. Serenol was the worst of the options I tried from the gyn. I can’t do SSRI antidepressants or birth control. Other things I tried, such as evening primrose oil and chasteberry have done nothing for me. I take a vitamin D supplement, as well as other vitamins, which are recommended to help PMDD.
I meditate every morning and exercise daily, even if it’s just a short 30 minute walk (Read about my Miracle Mornings). I eat low carb, low sugar, high protein, high healthy fats, low salt, and no caffeine. I rarely drink alcohol. I do all the diet and exercise recommendations I’ve been given from the doctors to help manage this condition and others of mine. All of these changes that I’ve made have been very beneficial for my health and my anxiety.(Learn about how keto may help anxiety)
When I went to see my medical cannabis doctor for a checkup in early 2020, I explained my PMDD issues and the things I’d tried from the gyn. I’d been experiencing appetite issues and severe inability to sleep for months by this point, along with a myriad of mood swings. He suggested I take a large dose of CBD at night before bed in addition to my other medications to help improve my sleep.
Within the first week of changing how I take my medication to include taking a CBD pill at night, I started having more normal sleep. For the past 6 months, I’ve experienced very minimal PMDD symptoms. I’m able to sleep again, which is great. However, if I experience extra stress, my PMDD flares up in full force and nothing helps.
In short, my lifestyle, CBD, exercise and diet seem to help, but not 100% of the time. I genuinely hope that there are scientists somewhere developing medication to treat this. Living with PMDD is hell some months.
Again, I am not a doctor or a medical professional. This information about PMDD is for general informational purposes only. Information in this post may not constitute the most up-to-date information. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The PMDD content on this posting is provided “as is;” no representations are made that the content is error-free.