Written by Yoppie
28 Apr 2022
What is PMDD?
How is PMDD treated?
What about natural treatment for PMDD?
What else can help PMDD?
Can my doctor help with PMDD?
Have you recently been diagnosed with PMDD, or think you should be? It remains a mysterious condition that not many people understand, so other than speaking to your GP it can be difficult to find the info you need to decide on the best treatment. Let’s take a look at what diagnosis looks like, and some treatment options you may like to try at home, from daily vitamins to better sleep and everything in between. Here we go…
PMDD stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and is essentially a severe form of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) that encompasses a range of emotional and physical symptoms such as anxiety, depression, headaches, cramping, and more. Similarly to PMS, it tends to arrive in the week or two before your period, called the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.
While PMS symptoms are common, PMDD is less so. But the symptoms are much worse and can have a huge impact on daily life, making it difficult or impossible to work, have a normal social life, and maintain a healthy relationship. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Remember, if you are experiencing emotional distress or suicidal thoughts, Samaritans is available to help 24/7 by calling the number 116 123, or you can text SHOUT to 85258. Don’t keep it to yourself, talk to someone and make a plan to get the help you need.
PMDD isn’t typically something you can ride out alone, so speaking to your doctor and getting the relevant diagnosis can start you on the path to feeling better and managing the symptoms each month. Although there is no specific medication or treatment for PMDD, your doctor may recommend the following to help ease symptoms:
One or several of these undertaken for a time and monitored by your doctor can help you feel better in the long term and handle the symptoms more effectively when they do arise.
If you’d rather not add medications into the mix, there are a few lifestyle changes that are often recommended to people experiencing the worst symptoms of PMDD. These include:
Talking to people about your PMDD can feel daunting at first, as it’s difficult to explain and can sometimes be met with comments like ‘it’s just bad PMS’ when you know it’s a lot more than that. This anonymous quote on Mind.co.uk explains it very well:
"The best way to describe it is that, once a month, I pressed my own self-destruct button and literally let my (normally very happy and satisfying) life implode around me. Then when the dark thoughts lifted and cleared, I spent the next 2 weeks trying to pick up the pieces."
Carefully decide who in your life you want to open up to and start a conversation about it so they understand what you’re going through and can help you in the best way when those feelings start to come up. You shouldn’t need to feel embarrassed or have to justify what’s happening each month, so talking about it in advance can alleviate some of the guilt that tends to come when you have to cancel plans, and will make you feel much better long term.
Even if you choose to stick to natural remedies to improve your PMDD, you should speak to your doctor to discuss symptoms and check there is nothing underlying they need to know about. You don’t haved to take any of the medications or treatment options they recommend, but it’s always good to know about them so you can make an informed decision.
Do you suffer from PMDD? We know it can be a difficult condition to live with as it’s still so poorly understood, so if you feel it would help to open up to others with their own menstrual cycle concerns, our Full Stop FB group is a great place to start. You can also reach out to us directly on Instagram at @itsyoppie. Don't forget that our personalised menstrual cycle subscription box can get organic tampons, PMS supplements and much more delivered easily and regularly through your letterbox, to give you just a bit more peace of mind each cycle.
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