Unveiling PMDD: My Journey to Understanding and Overcoming

 Carton of eggs with unique drawn faces depicting various moods associated with PMDD.
Photo by Tengyart / Unsplash

Chapter 1: The Mystery Begins

Picture this: for years, I would experience intense mood swings, unpredictable emotions, and really dark thoughts right before my period.

Little did I know that these symptoms were more than just the usual premenstrual blues. It wasn't until I spoke about it with friends that they collectively told me

What you’re experiencing is NOT normal.

After several doctor visits, I was finally diagnosed with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder), and then the puzzle pieces started falling into place.

Chapter 2: Decoding PMDD

So, what exactly is PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder)?

Well, my friends, it's an amplified form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). While PMS is no stranger to many of us, PMDD takes it to the next level.

We're talking about intense mood swings, debilitating fatigue, mind-numbing anxiety, and a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

It's like PMS on steroids!

Chapter 3: Unveiling the Culprits

As I dug deeper into the world of PMDD, I discovered that genetics or sensitivity to hormonal fluctuations may be behind these symptoms, although the exact cause is yet to be understood entirely.

Oestrogen and progesterone, the dynamic duo responsible for our menstrual cycle, go haywire during the luteal phase (the phase right after ovulation when the ovary releases the egg).

These hormonal imbalances can wreak havoc on our neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, the mood-regulating superstar in our brain.

Chapter 4: Signs and Symptoms

Let's talk about the red flags that indicate you might be dealing with PMDD.

Mood swings that make you feel like an emotional acrobat? Check.

Feeling like you're on a never-ending anxiety rollercoaster? Double check.

Physical discomfort and exhaustion that seem to hit you like a ton of bricks? Yep!

These symptoms often occur a week or two before Aunt Flo arrives and subside once she finally makes her grand entrance.

Personally, I go through the symptoms for 2-3 days right before my period, but as soon as it starts... POOF! Instant relief.

Chapter 5: Diagnosis Dilemma

Like many of us, I lived for years with PMDD without even realising it.

The lack of awareness surrounding this condition can be frustrating, leading to misdiagnosis or simply attributing the symptoms to "that time of the month."

Among those diagnosed with PMS, a smaller but significant 3 to 8% experience PMDD.

If you resonate with the symptoms I've described, it's time to consult a healthcare professional who understands PMDD and can provide an accurate diagnosis.

To receive a diagnosis, you need to track your symptoms daily for at least three menstrual cycles.

Chapter 6: Conquering PMDD

Know this: PMDD is not a life sentence!

There's hope, and there are treatment options available. While each person's journey is unique, treatments may include lifestyle changes, such as exercise and stress reduction techniques, dietary modifications, and medication. Therapy can also be a powerful tool to help navigate the emotional rollercoaster and develop coping mechanisms.

Due to the lack of awareness and research, the true figures for PMS and PMDD cases could be even higher than what's currently known. It's time to break the silence, speak up, and let the world know that we're not alone in this monthly battle!

Discovering and understanding PMDD has been a game-changer for me. It has helped me reclaim control over my life and taught me the importance of self-care and self-compassion. If you suspect you might have PMDD, know that you are not alone. Reach out, seek support, and advocate for your well-being.

Together, we can break the stigma surrounding PMDD and empower each other to live our lives to the fullest, even during the stormy premenstrual days.