Let’s face it - being a woman isn’t easy. We’ve got gender inequality, childbirth, periods, and a whole load of hormonal changes to deal with. All of this significantly impacts our lives.
When you hear the words ‘hormonal fluctuation’, your mind probably conjures up visions of mood swings, painful cramps, and wipeout fatigue. Am I right?
These are the symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome - everyone’s heard of it, most women have been affected by it, and it’s generally an unpleasant thing to deal with.
But what if you feel these symptoms so strongly that it hinders your ability to cope with the everyday? What if you’re experiencing these horrible pains at times that don’t quite adhere to the clockwork of PMS?
PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder) is a condition not everyone’s familiar with. It’s often shrugged off as ‘just PMS’ - a damaging diagnosis that fails women, leaving them behind to suffer.
It’s hardly surprising that most people have never even heard of PMDD - the exact causes are still not fully understood, and there is still so much research to be done surrounding the condition.
Having had such an up close and personal experience with this debilitating disorder, I’ve vowed to break the silence surrounding it, and to help those suffering tackle its symptoms.
This is my PMDD story - how I developed the condition, and how I’m tackling it.
Living With PMDD
Following the birth of my second child seven years ago, I started to suffer from what seemed like PMS on steroids. My life turned upside down - a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde roller coaster that burdened me to the point of crippling depression.
The week before my period was due I would frighten myself (and others) with rage and the lack of control over my emotions. Such powerful anger mixed with paralysing fatigue left me in utter despair, totally unable to cope with my life. And yet, as if by magic, the moment my period arrived I was back to my normal self. I thought ‘what the hell is wrong with me?’, like I know so many others have.
Unfortunately for me, my monthly cycle wasn’t exactly ‘cyclical’. The irregularity of my periods meant that this week of hell would just spring on me, prohibiting any physical or mental preparation for it.
My condition worsened over time, bringing with it severe mood swings, extreme tiredness and intense cravings, even when my period wasn’t due.
Certain that something was amiss - that I wasn’t just ‘hysterical’ with PMS - I decided to keep a period diary to record my symptoms. You can imagine my delight when I discovered that my symptoms arose not only in premenstruation, but when I was ovulating too!
I later learned that this was due to the sudden drop in estrogen (ergo, irritability) that immediately follows ovulation. The balance is restored once estrogen and progesterone levels return back to normal.
As I’m sure you can understand, this constant battle with my cyclical hormones made my third pregnancy feel like a 9 month holiday! Apart from a few expectant wobbles, I almost felt better than I ever had! But alas, all good things must come to an end.
Drawing the Line
Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I was strapped back into the extreme emotional roller coaster I had come to dread. This time, the episodes brought me to my lowest of lows - not quite rage, but what I can only describe as totally debilitating depression.
During these twice-a-month episodes, it was hard to get out of bed let alone hold a conversation. When in pre-menstruation or ovulation, I would be in such a depressed state that I didn’t even want to play with my baby. I was riddled with despair, uncontrollably crying as I felt my world come crashing down at the flick of a switch. I would go from my happy, bubbly self, to a bawling, inconsolable mess within 24 hours.
I decided to draw a line, and went to see a specialist gynaecologist. I met my diagnosis with both relief and indignance.
A Surprising Diagnosis
As I found out I had been suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, I couldn’t help but feel as if I had been let down by the system in some way.
Upon my research, I found that 1 in 20 women suffer from the disorder, so I’m asking myself ‘why is this the first I’m hearing of it?’.
This is a common condition, which causes severe depression, anxiety, irritability, and crippling physical pain, so why was no one talking about it?
My doctor informed me that my best chance at treatment would be antidepressants, as I’d tried many different contraceptive pills to no avail.
This pushed me to find a better solution.
Having conducted painstaking research, trying every PMDD or PMS natural supplement and natural treatment and in the book, I’ve finally found a solution that works to tackle my PMDD.
Adaptogens are powerful herbs and roots, tried and tested over thousands of years to help the body restore its hormonal equilibrium. This in turn alleviates the symptoms of my PMDD and helps me feel calmer and more in control all month.
Our range of products is developed for women by nutrition specialists, and combines all the best adaptogens and vitamins in one, easy to take formula.
Adaptogens have quite honestly changed my life, and I hope they will do the same for you. You can discover more about what they are, what they do, and how they help by visiting My New Mood.
Think You Might Be Suffering With PMDD?
Just as the name suggests, this condition leaves its victim in a complete state of dysphoria - unable to work, concentrate or enjoy life.
- Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people
- Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of tension or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Mood swings or crying often
- Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
- Trouble thinking or focusing
- Tiredness or low energy
- Food cravings or binge eating
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling out of control
- Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
A condition like PMDD truly has the potential to turn your life upside down in a matter of days. It’s nothing short of an emotional roller coaster, both for those suffering from it, and their loved ones.
PMDD is like PMS on steroids. It’s ramped up, angry, and it feels very much like it’s out to get you.
The symptoms of PMDD are only present during the luteal phase (the last two weeks) of the menstrual cycle. The common side effects can be attributed to the pesky rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone. Its result is considered to be a genuine cellular disorder in the brain (so no - you weren’t just being dramatic!)
For more information about Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, you can visit www.iapmd.org, a PMDD charity.