PMDD: PMS X A MILLION
PMDD is the ugly sister of PMS. It stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder and affects 3-8% of ovulaters (Halbriech, U. 2003). It is PMS so severe that your life is impacted every month during the week or two before you start your period. There can be physical and emotional symptoms including suicidal thoughts. We don't yet know what causes it.
WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS BEFORE?
PMDD is a relatively new diagnosis. PMDD was first added to the list of depressive disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in 2013.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE IT?
Here are some of the symptoms:
Markedly depressed mood
Marked affective lability (that’s mood swings to us mere mortals)
Persistent and marked anger or irritability
Decreased interest in usual activities
Subjective sense of difficulty in concentrating
Lethargy, easily fatigued
Marked change in appetite
Needing more sleep or getting less sleep
Subjective sense of being overwhelmed or out of control
Other physical symptoms like breast tenderness, headaches, joint or muscle pain, a sense of bloating or weight gain.
(Collins, S. 2013)
I THINK I MAY HAVE IT! WHAT DO I DO?
Don’t ignore it just because it’s a ‘once-a-month’ thing. Seek out help! Talk to your healthcare practitioner, acupuncturist, therapist, herbalist and/or therapist. Don’t suffer in silence- bc this shit is REAL and there are ways to help minimize the symptoms. Read our top tips to fight PMDD like a warrior!
(Editor’s Note: We always recommend getting multiple perspectives so you can have the most info and an understanding of various options! So, for example, if you go to your healthcare practitioner, you may want to try an herbalist or acupuncturist as well!)
Collins, S. et.al. (2013) Oxford HAndbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Oxford University Press:Oxford.
Halbreich, U. et.al. (2003) The prevalence, impairment, impact, and burden of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMS/PMDD). Psychneroendocrinology. 28, (3), p.1-23
Contributions and Research by: Natasha Richardson, Medical Herbalist and owner of Forage Botanicals, London UK