PMDD: Fact or Fiction

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Biology 103
2002 First Paper
On Serendip

PMDD: Fact or Fiction

Margaret Hoyt


"PMS, PMDD, or whatever label you put on it, is, has been, and probably always will be one big excuse for being grumpy and nasty," posts Marianne E (1). A faceless Internet user posting her thoughts on a web forum, Marianne shares an opinion with many other Americans. Many people, mostly men, feel that female sexual disorders exist purely as a defense for a bad mood. A handful of women and a few members of the medical community might agree with Marianne. However, a significant amount of research and medical opinion contradicts Marianne's assertation. As many women can attest, PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, can be a fact of life.

It is estimated that 70-90% of women will experience some form of premenstrual grief at some point during their fertile years. Of those women, between 30-40% of women can be diagnosed as having Premenstrual Syndrome. Narrowing the field even more, 3-7% of those women have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (2).

In general terms, PMDD can be considered a severe form of Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. Because the two disorders share many of the same symptoms, a problem results in distinguishing between the two. A simple answer exists in terms of severity: a woman with PMDD experiences the same ailments as a woman with PMS, only the woman with PMDD suffers to a far greater degree. The medical community has attempted to provide clinical descriptions to help specify these disorders. A PMDD website maintained by the drug company Lilly describes PMDD as a combination of psychological and physical effects occurring from one to two weeks before a woman begins her period (3). Furthermore, all of the symptoms associated with the onset of a woman's period can be separated into three categories: PMD, or Premenstrual Discomfort; PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome; and PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. The most common symptoms associated with Premenstrual Discomfort consist of physical changes: bloating, weight gain, acne, dizziness, headaches, breast tenderness, cramping, backaches, food craving, and fatigue. Those symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome tend to be more psychological changes: sudden mood swings, unexplained crying, irritability, forgetfulness, decreased concentration, and emotional over-responsiveness. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder consists of symptoms more commonly associated with chronic depression: sad, anxious, or empty moods; feelings of pessimism or hopelessness; emotions such as guilt or worthlessness; insomnia; oversleeping; change in appetite, resulting in weight gain or loss; suicidal thoughts/attempts; uncontrollable rage or anger; lack of self control; denial; anxiety; and frequent tearfulness (4).

PMDD is often confused not only with PMS, but also with depression. As previously mentioned the PMDD symptoms must exist in such severity as to inhibit the woman's day to day living, to separate the disorder from PMS. PMDD affects a woman's work environment, personal relationships and family life. What separates PMDD from depression is a sudden disappearance of most symptoms shortly after a woman's period begins. To further complicate matters, if PMDD is left untreated for several years, the symptoms may override the menstrual cycle, occurring during ovulation or at any time during the cycle (5).

Because PMDD shares symptoms similar to many other disorders, debate exists over where to classify PMDD. The fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) lists PMDD in its index, calling it a depressive disorder (6). However, lack of information and understanding of exactly how PMDD works prevents it from being classified in an official mental illness category. Basic research links the onset of PMDD to neurological and hormonal differences in some women's bodies. A study completed by the National Institute of Mental Health linked PMS with abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone (7). In the article introducing the study as it was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Joseph Mortola wrote, "premenstrual syndrome is probably the result of complex interaction between ovarian steroids and central neurotransmitters," (7). A Psychiatric News bulletin describes how PMDD specifically works, "in a press release on the advisory committee's recommendation, Lilly said that although the etiology of PMDD is not clearly established, it "could be caused by an abnormal biochemical response to normal hormonal changes." Routine changes in estrogen and progesterone associated with menses may, in vulnerable women, induce a serotonin deficiency that could trigger the symptoms of PMDD." (8).

Some women's bodies cannot effectively handle the hormonal shifts that occur every week in a menstrual cycle. Lilley suggest that these women lack the level of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, needed to make smooth hormonal and emotional transitions from week to week. Several antidepressants have had the most successful results in terms of strong effects on serotonin levels -- the medical community has dubbed these drugs as SSRIs, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (9). The FDA has only approved two SSRIs in the treatment of PMDD: Sarafem and Prozac. These two drugs contain Fluoxetine, which is thought to correct the serotonin imbalance in women who experience PMDD.

Three options exist for treatment of PMDD (9). Doctors may choose to take a medicinal approach, administering antidepressants, antianxiety drugs or hormones. Health care providers may also try focusing on the psychobehavioral aspects of the disorder. This includes stress management, psychotherapy, and relaxation. The third option is a nutritional modification, including dietary restrictions, extra vitamins, rigorous exercise, and herbal remedies. Women are encouraged to speak to her gynecologist to find the most appropriate method of treating her PMDD.

Many factors contribute to the reason why PMDD is regarded as a controversial topic. Little is known about the disorder: the American Psychiatric Association has not formally accepted PMDD as a mental illness; PMDD is listed merely as a disorder. Many doctors have found homeopathic remedies are most effective, thereby decreasing the validity of Fluoxetine drugs. Furthermore, since such a small percentage of women suffer from PMDD, it is entirely possible never to hear a personal experience. After hearing just one woman's story, it becomes that much more difficult to doubt the legitimacy behind her experience. With continued research, the medical field may be able to separate the divide between those who see PMDD as fact and those who see PMDD as fiction.

 

References

1) It Sure Feels Real; Forum response to article, , "Women Behaving Badly?" by Neil Osterweil.


2)USA Today Health Section, "PMS and PMDD Cause Serious Suffering," by A.J.S. Rayl.

3)PMDD informational site, maintained by drug company Lilly

4)Essay: PMS and PMDD - an Expose", by Anthea.

5)informational site, maintained by drug company Lilly

6)ABCNews.com, "The PMDD Debate: A Real Condition, or Just PMS by another name?"

7)Medicine and Biology article,"Estrogen, Progesterone Implicated in Provoking PMS," by Kenneth J. Bender, Pharm.D., M.A.
8)Psychiatric News, FDA Panel Recommends Fluoxetine for PMDD.

9)PMDD Facts for Health informational website

 

 

Comments made prior to 2007

I would like to know if the people who do not believe in PMDD have ever had severe symptoms. For the last eight months I have either abused my meds to the point of overdose just trying to sleep and cope with life. I also have attempted serioous suicide attempts all within 2 days of my period ... Kim, 5 May 2007

Comments

Nixxbean's picture

Wow..

I don't want to ruin another relationship because of my pmdd. I've only recently
Discovered that this exists and there's no doubt in my mind after reading all of this that it is real and I do have it. I have lost so many best friends and so many lovers because of my week of irrational behaviour. Today for example- I woke up crying and cried all day and I'm crying as I write this. My boyfriend of 6 months now we fight every month at the same time because I get too sensitive and he turns into a total asshole cause normally I'm this tough confident funny sexy woman but nope one week a month I am a snappy Dissatisfied finger pointing hysterical nut case and oh my god I want it to stop. I've ruined so much of my life because of this... Has caused several nervous breakdowns - From quitting
Jobs irrationally to homelessness to almost dying from drugs and alcohol to starting a fight that lead to physically
Abusing someone who was at one point the love
Of my life. I am so madly in love with my current boyfriend and I tell ya, no one has loved me as much as he does or the way he does and i want to spend my life with him but every month I feel I push him away with this childish cry baby behaviour. I have started taking natural hormone pms pills and evening primrose oil along with my iodine as I was diagnosed with low thyroid by a natural healer.
I was told it could take up to two months to notice these pills taking any effect and I'm one month in. We fought today obviously because of my crying and my blame games where I call him out constantly saying he's an asshole and that if he doesn't treat me better I'm leaving. Every month I threaten to leAve. This time today I didn't. I was able to stop myself. I know he loves me. And I know love him deeply. I've been trying my hardest to control these outbursts.. I can't loose this one.. He's so wonderful and amazing and he's a man and like all my past loves he is not good with tears. I can't blame him for the way he reacts to me. We always make it through but I don't know how many more month he will take it.. He knows I have pmdd and he knows I'm actively trying to deal with it. I also have at least two girlfriends with pmdd that live far away from me.

Serendip Visitor's picture

PMS merry go round

Hello!

OK, so I'm 25 yo female and I already know that alcohol should be avoided during PMS and since since this year I have learnt the hard way when I drank some red wine at a birthday and got into a rage at home in bed before finally falling asleep 2 hours later. It didn't help that the party was completely boring me out of my mind. This was around the time I was ovulating.

Anyways, on a different day I needed to unwind at home after work so I tried some whiskey, 3 shots. After a few hours I felt fine and went to bed.

So the next day after work, I went out for dinner with family and friends. I was already feeling weepy that day and I had told some people who were at the dinner that I was feeling weepy.I just felt like I usually felt the week before my period and I didn't think too much of it, just hoped it wasn't going to get any worse than that.

Since I was fine after drinking yesterday, I thought it wouldn't hurt to have a one or two drinks at dinner. But then after 2 cups of red wine and after getting quietly mad, due to my paranoia that a conversation I wasn't involved in was about me, and feeling extra sensitive after a few drinks, the tears began to slowly come out until I was fully crying after a family photo, and a family member told me I should not be too emotional.

Before I knew it, I realized I was still crying and weepy about 3 hours later when I was already at home and in bed and still feeling as if my head was in a haze, which the alcohol definitely was contributing to. But the fact that it I drank during PMS, I felt the my reaction to the drink was exaggerated. For some reason red wine is the worse than other alcoholic beverages, I don't know if it could be the sulfur in the wine.

Funny thing is before this year, I used to drink red wine, vodka and whiskey after maybe 2 to 3 cups throughout the night and would be fine, but since the start of this year it has had a negative effect on my mood after just 1 to 2 cups after 1 or 2 hours.
I don't know if getting a little older has got anything to do with it and your hormones or brain chemistry changes as you get older and you react to things differently than in the past. But I have definitely learned my lesson with alcohol now!!

Anyways, the next day after dinner, I was still feeling a little low, not necessarily a hangover, as I didn't drink that much to get a hangover, but the alcohol was still in my system and affecting my mood or at least had some sort of indirect affect on my hormones. And at 11am to 12pm I feel my abdomen getting bloated as usual around my period and 1pm BANG...............my PERIOD arrives.

Besides that, that whole week and the week before, I was already feeling quite paranoid that whole wee, hearing voices and just delusional, which now that I think of it, happens like clockwork after ovulating, almost every month, 2 weeks before my period is due.

It almost feels like I am schizophrenic the entire month (unless doing something completely distracting that I I enjoy). By the time my period finishes, ovulation is just around the corner and passes by pretty quickly and before I know it, it's only a matter of time before I am feeling paranoid, delusional, or easily annoyed again.

I feel like it's been happening for so long that I think I accepted it as a normal existence.
I think it has had an affect on most of my adult life, like work, relationships, and school but I think as time goes on without any proper treatment or solution and the fact that many people still think PMS/PMDD is a myth, that many of us including myself have just taken it with a grain of salt thinking there is no solution or that it's just a phase and that we should just suck it up and get over it.

I actually try to convince myself that maybe it is all in my head, but the fact is, the more it happens and the older I get, I can't keep thinking it is all in my head. The symptoms are real, the feelings are real and I cannot bloody control my mood swings, no matter how much I think I can. To be honest, if I could afford a counselor every month, I would gladly go and then my only wish is that the counselor knows what I am talking about instead of just labeling it as a phase to cover up the fact that they may not know exactly what PMS or PMDD is, or that they have never experienced it themselves.

Sometime I don't even know if I should seek help or just ride it out because people out there have more problems or more visible problems that can actually be resolved explained by science. I know we already have information out there about PMS and PMDD but I think this information has only just scratched the surface on what women and maybe even men go through with this disorder. I thinks people should take PMS and PMDD more seriously and should treat it just like any other mental disorder like depression. But I think the more transient nature of this disorder can make it harder to believe it actually exists in otherwise normal individuals.

But there is hope, I think there are people out there doing more research on this and since more and more people are trying to figure out what this is and more people are experiencing it themselves and talking about it, we will soon get to the bottom of this.

For whoever doesn't believe in PMS or PMDD, then you probably haven't experienced it yourself to know.

Serendip Visitor's picture

best, too get that checked out.

I have a feeling this is exactly what I have, PMDD. IT ALWAYS HAPPENS, every time, two days before my period where everything turns inside out in my head, like if I was bipolar or paranoid schizophrenia. The worst part is that I CANT recognize it or control it when it happens, and I do not realize at the time that is what is going on till it is too late and out of hand. My PMDD symptoms go as far as making up complete paranoid delusions and thoughts. Example, if someone I love talks to me, illogical or unreasonable thoughts about them or what they think about me or what they are doing (that’s is totally not ture) will brew in my head and then I either blow up in emotional response to the idea or attack verbally and viciously to that person. I swear, if my family and my bf did not love me they would be gone and not put up with it. My bf is so use to it he has found ways to either try and help (even though there is no soothing thing out there to ease PMDD symptoms) or avoid me during those times. Also I will be filled with self-loathing fears and unreasonable anxiety’s that completely feel like it is the end. I guess I get a diagnosis and a treatment. I was hearing about Sam-e being a pretty good regimen for PMDD. But that is my story, what are yours? -Jamie

*K*'s picture

welp I had a good 18 month run of normalcy...

so I posted here a LONG time ago when I first realized I had pmdd. I came back later and posted that I was pregnant (in october of 2011) and during my pregnancy my symptoms completely disappeared. I was terrified throughout my pregnancy that the symptoms would come back immediately after my son was born, but they didn't! they actually stayed away throughout my pregnancy and until he stopped breastfeeding at 17 months, about three weeks ago. my first period since he stopped breastfeeding is set to start four days from now and the crazies came back with a vengeance today. I was shocked by how suddenly and horribly they appeared and how awful I felt. but it was so familiar :'( I have had trouble sleeping the last two nights and today lashed out at my husband over the phone, implied that I thought he might be cheating on me (I don't really think that and was horrified to hear myself saying it), hung up on him and then sat at my desk uncontrollably crying. I seriously thought I might have to leave work, I could not get a grip on myself. cue the self-loathing, feeling like the most alone person ever and like no one could ever understand how I feel right now, and that none of my friends/family really understand, love, or support me.

and also for the first time I felt really, really scared at how strong and sudden these feelings can be. I forgot how strong and just plain miserable these feelings are, after not having them for so long.

on one hand I think this without a doubt confirms my diagnosis as PMDD, on the other hand I think I probably have to go back on prozac or get pregnant again ASAP. we want one more child and then I think I will probably have to be on meds until menopause at this rate.

Cooky's picture

OMG... IM LOSING IT!!!

I have been noticing it for years now and it seems as though everyone thinks im crazy, i have done my research and i know this is real.. I mean my normal time i am productive, fun, love to go out and eat, work, my hair done, i am dressed for work... but as soon as a week before my period ...lordy ... i lose my appetite, very depressed with many thoughts of suicide, sleepless nights, worthless, my breast hurts, my joints ache, weak, sensitive, cry-baby, wont do my hair, dress like a bum and just feel like dying. I have attempted suicide several times and as you can see I didnt succeed. Some months are worst than others but I just want to be normal it is hell to feel like this for 12 times out the year, with no support and no one that understands or do not think it is such a thing. i am looking into some specialist to maybe help me!!! pray for me! i am also going to try some of these remedies like the vitamin B6, calcuim, magnesium, and the chasteberry supplement. thaks for listening, we need to start a supportive group on one of these websites. maybe we can help one another, i felt so alone until now and this feels really good right now to know that i am not alone.

jenn's picture

support groups

Facebook has some support groups. It is Def a comfort to know you aren't alone. Pmdd survivors is one of them :-)

April Dawn's picture

Amen sista !

I'm totally with you hun ! I just had my ah ha moment 4 days ago . I was wondering what was up with me . For YEARS now I've had symptoms worsening . I thought I was going nuts . This past cycle was so incredibly difficult , I'm ( almost ) thankful . I put my finger on the answer , now to work to find something that helps . It is such a crippling , paralyzing , body metamorphosis . I go from my usual " sunshine" self to a woman that I would never want to be . It creeps up on us so slyly , I don't even notice until my husband says something . I'm very lucky to have my best friend keeping his eye on me . It really helps to have him so solid , and watchful . Knowledge is power ! How very sensitive our neurology is . Good luck and best wishes !

Serendip Visitor's picture

PMDD

I have had this PMDD thing for many years. I am 39 now and remember having lots of rage at times when I was younger and often wonder If this was the cause. About 10 yrs ago, I described my symptoms to my OB nurse practitioner and she immediately put me on Prozac for which I was on for about 3 yrs. It seemed to help, as I was going through a tough divorce. After I moved and started with a new MD, I really wanted to treat the cause rather than the symptom so she put me on the progesterone cream instead. She never check my hormone levels. Since then I had a baby and I was the happiest during pregnancy. I did go back on the cream as my husband now notices a difference in my behavior. However, now I am feeling worse symptoms again. My symptoms range from coming unglued at the slightest issue to hating the life I have. Mind you. I just married the most wonderful understanding guy in the world and have a great family. I couldn't ask for more. BUT, as soon as ovulation comes, it becomes a struggle to just get out of bed. Its a constant to try to redirect myself form the crying spells and the "everybody is against me" feeling. And as far as patience, I don't have any. I feel overwhelmed as though I am treading water and never reach the shore.
Recently, I have heard about chasteberry and I am trying it now (wish me luck). Presently, I have a new doctor and will go to her if this option doesn't work.Hopefully she will understand. I feel as if taking the antidepressents is a far better alternative than making my family unhappy with me. Thanks for all the postings. They are so helpful to read that I am not alone in this and I would love to hear any more advice. Being aware of my PMDD is the first step to get through a day. Its pretty bad when you count down to when your period starts (and so does my hubby)...Got a week to go! :) Just trying to keep my head up.

christina's picture

pmdd and alcohol

i am wondering if anyone with pmdd has noticed that alcohol seems to exacerbate pmdd. i use to be able to drink socially or have a glass of wine or two and now i am finding it sends me into a rage every time. it is very scary. i just had an ablation and am on prozac so I'm hoping this will help as well. but I'm very curious if anyone else has experienced the same.

*K*'s picture

yes!

yes, as a PP mentioned on this thread, if I drink at all during my PMS time I become much more emotional and tired than normal. it doesn't see to have this effect on me during the two weeks between my period and ovulation.

BreeZ's picture

PMDD and alcohol

Yes, ma'am. I have experienced this lately. I have been a binge drinker (and eater, mind you) since I had my first drinks as a teenager. It has progressively gotten worse over the years, so I do my best to not partake unless it is a special occasion and I'm in a safe place without many "responsibilities" to be jeopardized. However, drinking apparently is never safe for me. I had drinks a couple times this year on vacation with my husband. I went completely crazy and enraged. It was VERY scary and my anxiety levels were through the roof which typically happens after drinking for me. I believe the prozac should help with drinking/eating compulsions, but I don't believe you should drink while taking it.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I am sure its real and that I

I am sure its real and that I have it.. im 36 and for most of my life i was not on birth control because i did not want to poison my body with hormones every day. But I had to get on it about 2 years ago and since then, my period has been crazy. I know i have it because pms comes right before or under your period. Pmdd comes about a week before and it always surprise me cause im a bitch under it and for so long i have been saying it cant be pms because im not due for my period yet. And it is bad i just sit and cry and cry with no escape other than thinking just to put a gun to my head and end it, im sure some woman have killed themselves under this. I do agree with what someone else said in their comment, for me i think it would stop if i get off the birth control. its worth the try..

Serendip Visitor's picture

Just a week before my period,

Just a week before my period, I get really emotional - crying over nothing, or crying over something someone has said which seems to me as "snappy". I sometimes get anger outbursts and I genuinely feel out of control of my symptoms. One day I all of a sudden started feeling like my feelings had changed towards my boyfriend, which I do not want to happen as I am so happy with him, but, not right now. I feel as though I can't control my body from doing this and I don't want it to make me feel like this towards him, I am still being my normal self towards him, apart from emotional and some months i get really irritated by him and snap at him. Will someone please tell me that this is normal to feel like this?!!! I'm scared :(

vdubb girl's picture

PMDD

Hi there, all of you wonderful and courageous women! I an 42 and have suffered from this too long. Two to three days before my period I sleep, cry, yell , feel horrible about myself, fight with people that I love or have a close relationship with. Its horrible My whole body hurts especially my breasts...I want them gone POOF go away breasts until I say come back to fill that great blouse! Depression runs in my family and I have been prescribed anti depressants numerous times however I am not on any now. I am on meds for ADHD. EVERY SINGLE ARGUMENT, BLOW UP, ME HAVING A GLASS OR TWO OF WINE AND FEELING TOO DRUNK, CRYING UN-CONTROLLABLY, IMPULSIVE ACTIONS, SUICIDAL FEELINGS, SLEEPING ALL DAY, FEELING AND ACTING IRRATIONAL, AND BREAK UPS....has all been two to three days before my period. In fact I have been dating a man for four months....You guessed it... he is done. Done. I have finally come to the realization its not me. Going to address this with my G.P. but I think I have been misdiagnosed at some point with depression. Thanks so much for your stories...I wish I was more articulate and my email more engaging...but I am not feeling my self today. I think I may be in a bad mood! bad joke I know. Take good care ladies! xo

Serendip Visitor's picture

Totally normal!!!

That has happened with me with every single boyfriend. I have two and half weeks of really bad PMDD and it only used to be one week now it is two and a half. But, I can tell the change coming on as my feelings towards my boyfriend get progressively more and more distant and angry. I snap at him. You will know the difference between whether you just don't love him anymore and seeing if it is just the PMDD by the way you feel about him the day of to a week after your period starts. If the love returns you know you still care about him and it is just the PMDD. That is how I gauge my relationships now. I have to in order to tell fact from fiction.

Jenny's picture

YES IT IS REAL I HAVE IT AND GONE HOLISTIC TO HELP IT!!

This is a DEF. REAL! Heres a bit of my story Im 23 years old and had a VERY tramatizing life from age 4yrs-now...kinda never stopped...I ended up getting into a really abusive relationship with someone with Anti-social personality disorder (Very BAD)...Anyways I got prego by him and during my pregnancy something happened...along with a EXTREME amount of emotional and mental abuse and Extreme stress...I Got sick as hell...like every kind of symptom u can think of sick as hell...down to random stuff like Arthritis symptoms...MIND YOU IM 23 YEARS OLD! And im talking 40+ more symtoms...Cronic stomach pain, headaches, muscle pain, heat flashes, nausea, dizzy, unbalanced, blackouts, shakes, anxiety, panic attacks, agoraphobia, bloating, weight gain and loss (-/+ 20lbs w/ 2 weeks!!), Stomach pain w/ eating, stomach pain w/ fasting, vision problem, racing heart, easily out of breath, depression....,.and way more....and most i experience on a every day basis...to EXTREME levels of pain...where im bound to the couch...or crawl around my house becuz i get soooo sick...i dont know whats wrong with me...But this all happened from 2008 when i got prego till now 2012...I went from healthy normal....to sick, depressed, agoraphobia, and PMDD!! Now to talk about that! I just wanted to give a breif experience of mine before I started getting symtoms of PMDD....So now PMDD is NOT anything like normal PMS!!!! First off it does not take long to start noticing something seriously wrong....It took me about 4-5 months to figure out there was a pattern to wht was happening to me....It was like 5-7 days before my period and I would start to get a EXTREME depression, sadness, DARK DARK DARK place!!!! Never have I felt something so scary in my life! I litterally thought i was gonna kill myself id get sooo depressed...hopeless..worried...paranoid (like im going crazy)...These are all EXTREME levels of these symptoms...not just sad or moody...LIKE SCARED FOR YOUR LIFE SCARY THOUGHTS...AND FEELINGS!!! You feel like you are going literally crazy...Racing thoughts....imagining dieing...all day...I would maybe calm down for 20 mins or so...and I would freak again....it was really the most darkest place i have ever been in my life...I AM TELLING YOU...PMDD is nothing like PMS....Another way i can try to explain it...is one time I took Zoloft---its a anti-depressant---But i had a REALLY BAD reaction with it....It made me feel PMDD...it put me in a really dark place where it was so dark and scary that you freak out and feel like u have to kill urself becuz its so scary and you panic so much to these feelings you feel like your never gonna feel normal again...its really such a scary feeling its impossible to get across online....But once I got my Period like almost instantly those scary feeling/thoughts went away...it was the weirdest thing...but Ive experienced normal pms and pmdd and it is REAL!!! i PROMISE YOU I really wish someone from American Psychiatric Association would interview me and my experience...and figure out wht the hell else is wrong with me....But even tho I had PMDD---I DID FIND A WAY TO HELP PMDD!! Im not a doctor nor know the reason why people get PMDD...but I got my HORMONES TESTED...and I was put on PROGESTERONE cream....OMG HAS IT HELPED!! Now my horomones are starting to balance I have felt so much better...Def. has helped put those scaring feelings and thoughts a thing in the past...But please If you have PMDD...or think u do...go get ur horomones tested by a holistic doctor....bcuz those feeling get worse every month...or u start to get urself scared even before they come becuz they are that scary to go thru....PMDD would effect ur everyday life...i would be in my room crying 85% of the day for about 5-7 days...and again once i got my period..gone...so strange...but frightning...hope this helps someone!! And please if you think u know wht could have happened to me...and why i am also experiencing those above symptoms that keep me feeling barely alive...please help!! Im going to be starting therapy...I know i prolly have alot of stress related physical pains so im hoping they too will start to fade away as i get out all my pain...I went thru 4 years of very abusive relationship...not physically but mentally and this all started when the abuse started...just got worse and worse...but its been increasingly better each day since i left him...its been 2 months...hopefully its all stress related...had endoscope and blood tests...biopsy...everything normal...but nothing feels normal about the way i feel...If u want to email me...my email is

Serendip Visitor's picture

Omg

You explained everything as is it is my life...I have been suffering for a year and I want my life back. Maybe we can discuss our symptoms and make eachother feel halfway normal lol.

Jacquie's picture

I have this I'm certain of it.

33 years old and have a weight issue, i mention that as the weight makes things a hell of a lot worse for me. I feel depressed, dark (suicidal thoughts) thoughts always there when I know the hormones are raging, I feel hopeless...all those strong emotional feelings...I feel them so strongly that it makes me want to sleep all the time. I don't leave the house I become a zombie almost...just going within if that makes sense.

I told my OBGYN two years ago that I suspected I had PMDD she laughed and said that was a myth. Then she put me on Ortho Try-Cyclen, which did help once I stopped feeling ill from the pills. However, it was not aperfect solution. On my more heavier cycle months I would still feel those feelings creeping back up and sometimes it was there as if I wasn't on any pills at all.

I refuse to take anti-depressents, screw it, i'm not gonna do it as I 1. React to pills and 2. am sick and tired of people trying to medicate my damn issues with this crap that doesn't work!

I had to stop taking my ortho due to budget issues, i'm broke, so i'm worse off than i was before the pills right now as my body is way out of whack with my period coming every two weeks now! *SIGH* Can't things just ever get easier???

I'm going to try natural things, get my weight back off, and focus on getting healthy and insured so I can get more hormone control.

Serendip Visitor's picture

I agree!! It has to be real.

I agree!! It has to be real. I just went to the Dr for it because around the time of my last period I had some pretty hard times at work. I snapped at customers and also my boss (though my boss quite well deserved it). But just b4 my period, I am so exhausted and it is like a hazy veil falls over my brain and I cannot function normally. I get angry and I get extremely emotional. I have some anxiety difficulties and I also have trouble sleeping (I have so many dreams that seem to wake me up or make me more tired) and I get hot flashes. I'm 24... After my period is over, I feel great again. B4 it, it's like I'm failing everything and nothing is good or right. After my period, I'm happy again and I laugh with my friends and I enjoy my life. I don't make this shit up... I waited a year, told myself it's all in my head and that I can control my actions, but I really can't. I become reactive and emotional... In any case, I am going to try the treatment the dr set me up for and see if this helps. Keepin my fingers crossed!

Kylie C's picture

I'm HOPING this is real! Not

I'm HOPING this is real! Not just another thing to be thrown back at me! Four seasons in one day? Hell, more like 10 moods in one hour! Like many others that have posted, I'm terrified that this will just get dismissed as a mistaken self-diagnosis and swept under the rug!!!

Stella's picture

I am now 53 years old. I

I am now 53 years old. I suffered from pmdd before anybody called it that. I remember making the rounds to doctor after doctor only to be told I had pms or needed to see a psychiatrist. All of what I read above was true for me also. I would get so angry, so emotional, so filled with rage. And even though I knew it was because of my hormones and that I was acting irrational, once I was in the zone, I felt my outbursts were justified. Finally I decided that I couldn't take anymore and thought about ending my life; I was about 35 years old. I decided to go to the doctor and tell him that I had horrible periods, bled copious amounts, with severe cramps. (I lied.) He told me I could have a hysterectomy. I had a total hysterectomy and it saved my life. Ever since, I take some estrogen each month. I have no more symptoms. Life has been extremely satisfying. In a few years I will try to get off the Premarin, but for now I feel great. Unfortunately, my daughter now suffers from pmdd. She is too young to get a hysterectomy, but nothing else has seemed to work well. (she has tried antidepressants)
So sad that the medical profession is still so largely unaware of this condition. Just went to a doctor the other day that recommended psychotherapy and kept calling it pms.
Good luck to everyone out there suffering from this! Hang in there!

PMDD sufferer's picture

How PMDD Feels

This is a letter I wrote to describe how I feel the days before and just after my period (I am ordinarily a normal, functioning, stable person):

A day or so before my period I start to feel like everything is
hopeless, and unmanageable, and like I am very small and alone.
I feel very sorry for myself. Because I usually do not feel sorry for
myself, I know that a chemical change is taking place, but there's
nothing I can do about it, and as terrible and sad and depressed as I
feel, the abandon with which I can give into the hopelessness feels
good - it's a period that I can loosen my control over every detail of
every minute of mine and my kids, lives. It's a time when I let my
room get messy and I lay down even before they go to bed, and I just
let them do whatever, without correcting them.
I can see that I have much less control over things than I usually believe, and I don't
worry about details and drive myself crazy with keeping up with
everything, while understanding things will hold together for a few
days while I fall apart.

I start to think about how I have been hurt in the past, and how I have no support
system (while this is not really true), and wonder if it's me (if my personality, my actions, are
responsible, and I could have had closer relationships with my
parents, or saved romantic relationships, if I'd tried harder), or if
it has nothing to do with me, and I am just very unlucky.

I think about how hard everything is, and how I do not actually affect
anyone except my kids. I wonder if they'd be ok being raised by
someone else, and whether they'd be scarred if I killed myself, or if
the effect of this type of thing is very minimal, and people just
continue on. I obsessively and romantically think of suicide.

I know, objectively, that I have been happy in the past, but the
prospect of being happy in the future feels doubtful. I try to shore
myself up, to soldier through more years and remember that I'll at
least get rid of this intense sadness in a few days, but that this is
my real interior feeling, and that the other is a facade, a tough
exterior to get my kids through life. I feel like I am treated
unfairly, despite what I try to put out into the universe, but I'm
sure everyone feels that way sometimes. It just feels intolerable at
these times.
It's like I am missing a filter to protect myself for a few days...it feels both
dangerous and like there is potential for connection with someone in
that state. I am less tolerant of other people's protective mechanisms
and walls, they seem so stupid and useless to me - so I have no
patience for what seems obviously to be a way to digress or distract
me from getting inside. This causes fighting within romantic relationships, desperate behavior designed to get someone to make the pain go away, to explain away why things are so hopeless, and I feel so ineffectual.

Note: Prozac does work, but diet and exercise can help reduce the symptoms.

Serendip Visitor's picture

PMDD

You made me cry, put into such perfect words. If I could write poetry this is what my pain would sound like, but instead I have been suffering for a long time with this. I love life, my supportive husband and my precious gems...my children! but I feel like I am breaking him down when this happens 5 days before my period and sometimes when ovulation starts and the damage I manage to do lingers for up to a week later. To painful to keep living like this. I deserve a better quality of life!! I exercise, love good nutrition, plenty of sleep. I desperately want to enjoy my family all the time every minute of the day!!

Serendip Visitor Rachelle hurtado's picture

My thoughts about PMDD

You have worded it perfectly. That is exactly how I feel. I started to feel this way after having my baby that is now 10 months but as soon as i got out the hospital all i did was cry. so everytime before I start my period I get emotional as if im suffering from life and at the moment I really am not. I dont know whats wrong with me. My boyfriend and I always fight a week before my period because while he is at work I send him krazy text messages. Like for example "I tell him that I feel that he is not with me by choice or that if he would love to move out he can, I ask him if he loves me by choice or by force. I also get very tired and sleep alot. Like two weeks before my period I dont feel like eating anything and I loose inerest in taking care of myself. Once I get my period all those feelings are gone. It feels good to hear that Im not the only women that feels this way:)

Serendip Visitor's picture

WOW, you hit it right on the Nail!

I was in tears just reading your comments and your letter because its like you took every detail that I feel as well and was able to put it all into words. Its nice to know that there are more ladies out there that face these problems and that hopefully we just arent all crazy. Even though I am glad I'm not alone, I hate the fact that there are so many women who have to go through this same thing! I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I sure hope I can get some help with mine, before everything I have worked so hard for in this life falls apart. Thank you for sharing your story, it does help! God Bless You!

Tea's picture

OOOOOOO as i read this i

OOOOOOO as i read this i realize , im not the only one. I really need some extra help tooo.

smitten mess's picture

its happening now!

I'm 10 days before my period. I do the same thing every month. Cry, dump my beautiful loving boyfriend, complain about him to one of my friends and they tell me to dump him. Mind you he is the most loving human being and loves me every month through me doing this. I eat everything in site, then the day before it comes I cant ever sleep. I get a burst of energy and clean the whole house through the night. If I drink wine to take the edge off I cry my face off the next day. I dont want to take anything because I want to get pregnant but I can't live through this whole emotional roller coaster ride that I have no control over, every month. Its a Sat night and I've trapped myself in my house eating ice cream and crying to freaken E.T. Any advice? I just took 2 St Johns Wort..HELP

kitty's picture

reply

OMG, I am soooooo sorry you suffer like this but thank you sooooo much for saying, I dont feel so alone anymore !
just had my marriage brake down, I feel sooooo helpless and alone at times, thank you

Serendip Visitor's picture

pmdd

Sorry you struggle with this and its nice to know that others experience this and im not just overreacting.

Pam's picture

pms

sat reading your post with tears streaming down my face, never has anyone summed up so well exactly how i feel right now :-(

JACE's picture

YES!!!

This is EXACTLY how I feel RIGHT NOW! My period is due in a couple of days & right now I just want to die....pass away in my sleep...well if it weren't for my gorgeous cat that is...I never would leave him, he is my best friend....I am so angry & can't stop crying...the Doctor is putting me on Yaz which I am told will help....it's so good to read that I am not alone! Thank you for your words! :-)

Bridget's picture

Sounds similar to me

Wow, this struck me because it sounds how I feel. I start thinking things about my fiance...that he doesn't love me and doesn't understand me (which is quite the opposite) and I take little that I feel he has done "wrong" and blow them out of proportion. The feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and feeling ALONE, the thoughts of suicide to escape it. And yes, I too have no filter at that time.
I am looking into getting treatment and doing research. You say that diet and exercise help. What do you do as far as diet is concerned? I have read many different things and am curious. Thank you for your point of view.

Rachel 's picture

off of birth control

I have been on Ortho-Cyclen since I was 18 (I am now 29). I took myself off the pill because all of my period symptoms were EXACTLY like PMDD. It was horrible, and from everything I read, PMDD was caused by "too much" estrogen and progesterone--the exact ingredients in my birth control pill. Since I've been off the pill, I have been documenting my daily moods. Wah-lah--absolutely NO PMDD symptoms. I am just curious if anyone has any other experience with stopping to take the pill and seeing their symptoms abate?

Serendip Visitor's picture

Holy shit, is this what's happening to me???

I am pretty certain I just found out what the hell has been wrong with me for the last ten years.

I have been highly suspicious for several years now that there is something just not right about my period. Now, I am pretty certain this has been happening since I started menstruating and has been masking itself by manifesting in other ways. I have suffered chronic depression since I was young, I became addicted to drugs, I have a history of erratic and risky behavior.

Now I am 25, clean, have a job, have a BA from a great university and am working my damned hardest to be the best person I can be...unfortunately, every time I get my period, I struggle with past demons. In other words, about one to two weeks before my period I literally wig out. Anxiety goes through the roof, I'm nervous, jumpy, anti-social, I disconnect and have crazy outbursts of rage at the smallest things. I cry over nothing. NOTHING. And I sleep all day. I eat like I have never tasted food before. I can literally gain 7 pounds in those two weeks, only to turn right around and lose it immediately the minute my period is over. I have been told by doctors that I am bipolar, manic, have a personality disorder, have a dissociative disorder...believe me, I have heard it all. But seriously, I must be one sick puppy to have all those disorders at once, but only one-two weeks every month. Please. I think doctors just like labels.

I think now I just have whacked hormones and maybe I simply need a seratonin boost.

I just know that I love life and I hate feeling like it sucks every single month for five very long, exhausting, tiring, debilitating days.

Hang in there ladies, we will make it!

*K*'s picture

PMDD is very real

I think I have had PMDD for over 10 years now and just recently finally went to my doc and got some prozac. I knew I was going to destroy my relationship and/or lose my job if I didn't change something, fast. I have tried everything, I exercise regularly, I eat right, I do yoga regularly, I meditate, I have tried st. john's wort, calcium/magnesium, 5HTP, high doses of niacin and other b-vitamins, valerian and numerous other herbal remedies for PMS...and I still felt and acted like a miserable person every single month starting about five days before my period. After my boyfriend pointed out to me that I had tried to move out numerous times right before my period (only to apologize profusely for my horrible behavior once I started my period) and I finally had a day where I literally could not go into work because I was crying (hard) for four hours straight (two days before my period, starting when I woke up at 7 in the morning and only stopping after I saw my doc and she explained to me what PMDD was and prescribed me some prozac), I realized how horribly I have allowed this to impact and control my life. I spend so many years trying to "control it" and telling myself "next month I won't lose my temper like that again." I got into a horrible cycle where about the time I would ovulate (I swear I can feel myself start going "downhill" a few days after ovulation, with the peak craziness hitting 3-5 days before my period and instantly disappearing the day I start), I would start to get horribly anxious about how I felt and acted, because I KNEW the crazy was coming - and then I would spend up to a week after my period feeling horrible and guilty about how I had behaved, apologizing, etc. This is too big of a portion of your life to feel horrible about yourself and your life! It really takes a toll on you dealing with this month after month, and in my experience, the anxiety associated with expecting it and feeling guilty about my behavior made my anxiety during my PMS time a million times worse. Like others have said on here, any change in plans or events would send me into an emotional tailspin, I often felt like I was so alone and overwhelmed and no one cared about me - even as my loved ones were trying to soothe me by telling me the exact opposite! It's almost as though you have no control over your emotions during that time, they just swing wherever they want. The hardest part for me was getting over the stigma that PMS is just normal moodiness or "grumpiness," or that people would think I was weak for using meds for this reason when so many other women seem to not even notice they even have a period at all! Women like Marianne who have never experienced this should count themselves lucky and keep their mouths shut, because the judgment about needing help to deal with PMS is what keeps a lot of people (myself included) from seeking that help! I just want to say, for the men who are dealing with the women who have it, please be patient and just try to understand how horrible your wife/girlfriend is feeling when she is acting that way. I know my boyfriend tried for several years to point out to me how horrible and unlike "me" my premenstrual behavior was, and honestly, I was often just so embarrassed by my own behavior and ashamed that I didn't want to acknowledge anything was wrong. I felt so horrible and wanted him to "fix it" for me, and I would get so mad and frustrated when he couldn't, because of course he is so supportive and reliable the rest of the time. I couldn't see that he could never fix it for me, because it was MY hormones and my problem. I also think that the guys who see this happening NEED to tell women they notice it. I know my boyfriend knew it was "PMS," but he has often said that since he's a guy and has no idea what that feels like, he didn't feel like it was his place to say anything to me about it at first. Also, just remember that no one wants to hear that they are crazy or unstable (especially when you feel like hell already and are just desperately trying to keep yourself together!), so you have to tread lightly when bringing this up. It was repeated, very calm and loving approaches by him, and him pointing out repeatedly how wonderful our relationship is outside of those five PMS days, and how I am such a different person during those five days, and, to be honest, my almost driving him away that made me finally go to my doc. There were so many times that I felt so "mistreated" by him or like he was taking advantage of me or "not really in love with me" (oh god, so many times I said those words to him) and it really took me actually charting this stuff on a calendar to realize he was right, I really only have this horrible feeling starting five days before my period, and it always goes away as soon as my period starts. I also had to take a good hard look at myself, him, our relationship, and my job to realize all of those things are great and wonderful outside of those five days. It can really mess with your head in a way that makes those five days seem "so real," as in your feelings during those five days are somehow more true than the rest of the time. It's scary, and especially if YOU are the one experiencing it. I often wondered if I might be bipolar but never felt "manic" per se and also thought it was just too coincidental that it was only right before my period that I felt so depressed. I just want to tell the guys, please be loving and patient and hang in there, because I can promise you that the guilt I felt over how I treated my boyfriend was just as bad as the misery I already felt because of my stupid hormones! And to all of the women out there that are dealing with this - you are NOT crazy, this is something very real you are experiencing, and the sooner you address it, the better you will feel. If this is affecting your ability to be loving or even civil towards your loved ones, or your ability to do your job or maintain friendships, it is time to do something about it. I know after I talked to my doctor and realized how serious PMDD can be, and really took a good hard look at how difficult this was making just living my life, I wished I would have done something sooner. We will see if prozac works but to be honest, just taking some kind of proactive action has made me feel less tense and anxious about my period coming every month. I wish the best to all of you, the men and the women everywhere that are dealing with this, and I just want to say it CAN GET BETTER. Thank you for writing this article and I hope women like Marianne never have to experience the symptoms (or the affects of those symptoms on work and relationships) that I have in my lifetime.

Serendip Visitor's picture

PMDD

Thank you! I felt like I wrote this except husband and 3 beautiful children which I put thru hell when this goes on:(

**AC**'s picture

I Agree **K**

Hi **K**,
I just come to realize that I suffer from PMDD....My boyfriend is the Best until two weeks before my cycle I can relate to your story...My doctor just perscribed me Prozac im reeeeeeeeally hoping that it helps because I can no longer take this over-whelming,Uncontrollable feeling that takes over my Life EVERY SINGLE MONTH FOR TWO WEEKS!! PMDD IS VEEEEERY REAL!!!

*K*'s picture

glad I am not the only one :)

glad I am not the only one :) I am pregnant now and have been symptom-free throughout my pregnancy, which confirms the diagnosis pretty much! now I am just worried about PPD since the two seem to be connected. good luck to everyone who has posted here.

rc bronc's picture

It is real and it is hell for all involved

My ex fiance and the mother of my 2 children has had PMDD for quite some time. A week to two weeks before her period she gets extremely emotional, turning a no problem situation into a huge ordeal. She cries, screams at the top of her lungs, hits, kick, scratches, and throws things. After her period, she is a totally different person. She never apologized for her loss of self control and her uncontrollable rages. I am a private person and did not know what was going on. I would try time after time to solve the problem... I would say to myself, "I am not going to do anything to upset her at all." ... but it didn't matter, she would find a way to be upset and let it out on me. She would never apologies for her actions. She would try to sweep it under the rug like nothing had ever happened. I would call it the calm after the storm, at which point she would seem like her regular self again... wanting a hug and beginning to act normal again, but did not wan to discuss her outbursts at all... I didn't want to continue any problems so most of the time I would just let it go until the next month. When we had our first child together, she got even worse. The outbursts of uncontrollable rage was greater and more frequent than ever. I thought that she was suffering from postpartum, so I approached her about it. She took great offense to my trying to help the situation... she acted like I was telling her that she was crazy when that wasn't the case at all and things got worse, much worse. I was just trying to find a way to live a happy and healthy lifestyle together. I was in this relationship for 12 years. I thought I could fix it. I thought I could make her happy. Many times she would look to be the victim, her red eyes, screaming voice, self victim attitude. It felt like people were thinking that I was mistreating her, when the case was that I was the one being mistreated. I have done all I could do to help our relationship. I found what she had through online research after her pregnancy... PMDD. She is in total denial that she has a problem at all. I don't know what else I could have done. I have tried everything. I would like to inform her of the information that may help her that I have found... but that would only make the situation worse. How do I help. I will no longer be the victim to her behavior, but my kids will suffer in some way... they will be her only outlet now. What should I do?

heidi's picture

@ rc bronc

I recently just lost my partner the father of my children because he could not take anymore abuse. It is only now that I realise that i flared up and attacked him verbally and physically every month, right before my period. Even when he had done nothing wrong, I would dig up an old hurt and make him pay. I would be screaming my lungs out, cursing and swearing, crying, bawling and it would end with me wanting to suicide to finish the misery that my life felt at that particular time.

My period would then magically appear and I would return to normal as if the nasty switch got turned off.

I have recently discussed this with my doctor and she is starting me on Prozac.

I hope the Prozac works :(

Serendip Visitor's picture

Your perspective on PMDD is

Your perspective on PMDD is really helpful to women who have it. It's helpful to hear how you feel especially stating that you are a private person because my husband is also a very private person. I have it and every month, it seems to get worse. My poor husband always has to take the brunt of my over-reactions and emotional instability. He expressed to me exactly what you just expressed in your comment. He wants to make me happy and help me but at those times, there is nothing anyone can do for me. I don't want him to feel like a failure because he tries SO hard. I've tried to explain it but it's impossible to know what this feels like unless you have it. Every month, it gets to the point where I feel like dying and it's not because I don't want to live. It's because I don't want to feel so horrible. So thank you for your feelings on the subject. Often, we don't see the emotional impact that our behavior has on our "other half".

Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do to help her behavior. There was also nothing you could have done to "fix it". She needs to become self-aware enough to realize the pattern that she is in. If she is in denial, attempting to help by suggesting things will only make her more angry, as you appear to know. In order to help her, she needs to be receptive and open to it. She is the only person who can help herself. If you suspect that she has become abusive to your children, there are things that you can legally do to stop it. I assume that you don't have full custody of your children? If that is the case, perhaps you can think about trying to legally gain full custody.

Let her know your concerns about your children without accusing her of anything. You could try to explain how you know things didn't work out between you and she largely because of her behavior (if that is the case) and you're not accusing her of anything or underestimating her. Let her know that you are there for her if she ever feels overwhelmed for any reason and you will help her take care of the children. Not that she can't handle taking care of the children, but IF she needs a break, let her know that you will be there for her. I think that is the only thing you can do at this point to try to help her.

If she is receptive to it, you may want to discuss your findings with her. You could start by telling her that what you've seen every month for the past 12 years seem very similar to PMDD symptoms. Let her know that it is a medical condition and it's not who she really is as a person. It just means that her body reacts atypically to her hormones. For example, if a person has cancer, it doesn't mean that they ARE cancer. They suffer from it and it impacts their lives to a great degree. PMDD causes women to suffer and it impacts their lives to a great degree as well. The only thing is that the impact lasts approximately 2 weeks every month. That is still enough time to potentially gain weight, get fired from your job, lose relationships with friends, alienate yourself from those around you, hurt and create tension with family members.

I hope this helps but please use your judgment as well. I don't know your situation or personality, nor do I know hers. If you choose to take this advice, please do so at your discretion.

Elaine's picture

ablation for PMDD

I am considering getting the ablation for my severe PMDD. Has this worked for anyone?? Help!!!

Anonymous's picture

People like Marianne greatly

People like Marianne greatly contribute to the frustration and social stigma people who have legitimate menstrual disorders face on a daily basis. Not everything is a figment of someone's imagination. I'd love to have Marianne switch bodies with me and try living with this as many years as I have, i.e. severe abnormal blood loss, dibilitating cramps, a hormone imbalance, and intense and rapidly fluctuating depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations. PMDD has been an absolute nightmare for me, not to mention the flippant attitude people who don't know anything about it can harbor. A little compassion goes a long way, I hope people get the facts before they make this kind of judgment. I would expect a female to be more aware of problems affecting their gender.

Anonymous's picture

Scared to ask for help

I think I have had PMDD since I was 14. Physically, my periods were intolerable...... I would faint, vomit, shake uncontrollably. My teachers and classmates thought I was faking to get out of school. I am now on high dose birth control and have been for 4 years but the emotional symptoms are still here and getting worse.
I get the regular cravings and irritability but I also get paranoid and anxious. Any news or direction that puts me off my "plan" for the day causes a small break in my emotional state. I either start to laugh or cry.
Sometimes I stay up late at night and pace around my apartment worried, about absolutely nothing! My mind is blank but it feels as though something horrible is going to happen, or that people hate me, or that the night simply won't end.

These feelings used to only come a week before my period. Now it can happen either before of after and I am feeling cramping pains two weeks into my cycle.
I am on anti-inflammatories for the pain but its the emotions that are killing me.
I feel trapped in my head/body and feel desperately like I need help or I won't survive the night. The, and this is the worst part, it goes away and I feel perfectly happy. When I am happy I tell myself what I felt was nothing and I forget what it was like. This happens every two or three weeks.

I am afraid though that my doctor won't help me. That I'll be told I'm whining and that its normal and there's nothing anyone can do.
It's really scary and I don't know how much longer I can live like this.

That is, until, I get a happy stretch and forget all that I typed!

Anonymous's picture

PMDD Its Real

PMDD its real, I didn't even know I had it, I didn't even know what I was suffering from on a monthly basis, getting so irritated, crazy-angry to the point of insanity. I started experiencing PMDD about 1 year after having my second child. I also suffered from post partum after the birth of my 2nd child, but it went untreated. I thought I just had a crappy marriage and was just unhappy about life and angry about life all at once. I had no desire for sex, out of control anger towards my children and no one to tell me that I was experiencing something medically wrong. It would come and go, but as my everyday stressors built up so did my emotions (this PMDD thing really effected me.) I suffered from weight gain, uncontrollable emotions, depression, temporary memory loss, or memory fatigue. I had disturbed thoughts of hurting my self and I really didn't know why and it was totally temporary. I would suffer with these out of control feelings for about 1-2 weeks and then my period would start and I was back to my normal, sweet, under control self. I have been suffering from this for about 4 years now. Im 34 and a nursing student and non of this has been covered in my studies. I found some clinical trials about it, but they are closed out now. And my mind can't help but wonder if PMDD is in some way connected to post partum syndrome and pregnancy induced psychosis. These other mental issues have something to do with that leutin phase of the menstral cycle and the ups and downs of progesteron, prolactin and estrogen hormones and seritonin levels. So if anyone has any information in regards to these issues please comment, There is something going on with women and we need to figure out what's missing or why this is happening and better ways of controlling it, maybe even curing it. Im begining to think that there might be a link between PMDD and abortions. I think its definantly worth looking into.

AddiedT2E3's picture

PMDD: As Real As It Gets

I've often thought the very same thing. My PMDD began within a month following an abortion (13 weeks). I think very much that my mother may have had PMDD when I was growing up. It's something she seems shameful of and not willing to talk about. She is older now and seems to control it better, but not living with her daily, who knows. I went on birth control after the abortion (NuvaRing). The symptoms (rages, crying spells, no reasoning behind any of it, fatigue, memory loss, diet changes, bowel changes, acne, etc) was unreal. I thought it was the birth control so I went off of it. But nothing improved. That was over two years ago. It operates like clockwork- I get about ten days of happiness each month and 14-19 of misery... as does everyone around me.

Serendip Visitor's picture

PMDD

I felt as if I were writing the first half of your response. I also noticed a difference about a year or so after the birth of my second child. I have the same feelings about two weeks before my period. They range from severe rage to crazy sadness...crying all the time, feeling despair. I feel sleepy tired all the time. I hate this. I've just stumbled upon PMDD and have just started researching it. I just wanted to reply and let you know I feel your pain. As a side note, I have not suffered Post partum depression nor have I had an abortion. I just am learning that women's hormones can do crazy terrible things.

Cheryl's picture

PMDD reality

I have PMDD, for 25 years now. The cycles of PMDD I have been coping with for what seems like an eternity now and for anyone that suspects that this PMS thing is just and excuse for women to behave poorly, walk a mile in my shoes and then be thankful for whatever good health you have enjoyed. I was told it was all in my head and that I just have to ignore my symptoms, easy to say if your not the one experiencing this period of time when your body seems to turn against you causing numerous physical and cognitive problems. Just 7 years ago a search on the internet would turn up just a handful of hits, at least now there are numerous sites and studies being done on this illness that harms the quality of life of these women and their relationships with their children, family,and loved ones.

Anonymous's picture

PMDD

It wasn't until I had an ablation for severe menstrual bleeding while in peri-menopause that I realized that I had PMDD all these years since adolescene. After the ablation, my severe mood swings & what I called "nesting instincts" before my periods disappeared. I celebrated the fact that I have a life again! It's amazing. I had 4 children and with every one I went off anti-depressants and felt the best I had ever felt in my life -- that is another indication that it was PMDD and not another type of mental disorder.

There are some really good books written by women about PMDD and they document real symptoms that will help others distinguish what it is they are dealing with. Medical science needs to catch up -- this may not affect vast numbers of women, but for the ones it does it can be life-threatening and devastating to careers and families.

Anonymous's picture

PMDD

To all of you reluctant to try sarafem/prozac (yes, its the same thing) - get over your prejudices. Its prescribed for other things than depression (OCD and bulimia for example). It has literally saved my life - in 1995 I decided to give myself 6 months more (after 5 years doing the rounds of doctors and treatments) to try to sort it out before suicide as my life was so awful. I was prescribed prozac, and it works. I take 2x20mg daily - at first for whole cycle, now just last 2 weeks of cycle. It completely takes away all the symptoms - physical and mental, and I feel just normal and fine on it. I hate taking a drug for this long, but when I stop it, the PMDD is back, just as bad as before. I tried 20mg daily at first, which reduced the symptoms, but the40mg is the jackpot.

So, like I said, get rid of your prejudices and try it. It could really help you to live a normal, happy, healthy life.

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