Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that affects between 5 – 10% of women during their menstrual cycle, typically a week or two before their periods. This condition is characterised by severe feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, irritability, and other emotional symptoms that can greatly impact a woman’s daily life. PMDD is a real and serious health condition, and it is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatments available to those who suffer from it.
PMDD symptoms can be very similar to those of PMS, except they tend to be much more severe. Some of the most common symptoms of PMDD include:
- Depression: Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are common in women with PMDD. These feelings can be intense and can greatly impact women during their daily habits.
- Anxiety: Women with PMDD may experience feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and fear. They may also have trouble sleeping, feel jittery, and experience physical symptoms such as headaches, heart palpitations, and sweating.
- Irritability: Women with PMDD may experience intense feelings of anger, frustration, and irritability. They may be more likely to lash out at others and engage in arguments.
- Mood swings: Women with PMDD may experience rapid mood swings, going from happy to sad or angry in a matter of minutes.
- Physical symptoms: In addition to emotional symptoms, women with PMDD may experience physical symptoms such as bloating, cramping, and breast tenderness, back pain, severe period pain, dysmenorrhea and more.
What causes PMDD?
The exact causes of PMDD are still not fully understood, but there are a number of factors that are thought to play a role. These include:
- Hormonal imbalances: Women with PMDD may have imbalances in their hormones, including changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone. Some women are more sensitive to hormone imbalances and changes.
- Genetics: Women who have a family history of PMS or PMDD may be more likely to develop the condition themselves.
- Brain chemistry: Women with PMDD may have differences in their brain chemistry that make them more susceptible to the condition. This could be a fluctuation of serotonine levels that lead to mood changes.
Diagnosing PMDD can be a complex process, and it is important to work with a healthcare professional that you trust and who is knowledgeable about the condition. The diagnosis of PMDD typically involves a thorough evaluation of a woman’s symptoms, including a detailed history of her menstrual cycles, symptoms, and lifestyle. A healthcare professional may also perform a physical exam and order laboratory tests to rule out other conditions that may be causing the symptoms. Getting a proper diagnosis may be tough as many professional will sometime disregard PMDD as some kind of “exaggeration” or believe that you are making it up… This is why it is important to make sure you are dealing with a healthcare professional that you trust and knows what he/she is talking about.
Remedies for PMDD
There are many different things you can do to help with your PMDD symptoms. Treatment and remedies for PMDD typically involves a combination of lifestyle changes, natural supplementation and medical interventions. Some of the most effective ones for PMDD include:
- Hormonal therapy: Hormonal therapy, such as birth control pills or hormonal injections, can help regulate a woman’s hormones and reduce the symptoms of PMDD.
- Antidepressants: You can try different types of over the counter drugs to help alleviate some of the more extreme symptoms of PMDD. Although, sometimes these come with a variety of different adverse side effects.
- Herbal remedies and supplements: Herbal and supplement-based remedies are great because they often come with little to no side effect! The better known options for PMDD (and extreme PMS alike) are calcium carbonate, vitamin B6 and vitex agnus castus (chasteberry). The most common one being agnus castus (chasteberry) as some research indicates that it is effective with irritability, inflammations and pain. However, their are other natural plant-based supplement that are growing in popularity for their abilities to reduce chronic pain conditions, inflammation, stress disorders and more. These are cannabis extracts called Cannabidiol (CBD) and Cannabigerol (CBG). These work by interacting with our very own endocannabinoid system (ECS) and help maintain a steady balance within the body.
- Illumis – PMS Formula: Illumis is a natural plant-based formula composed of CBD, CBG, Turmeric extract, and agnus castus (chasteberry) with a peppermint flavour. It is taken orally and was developed for the sole purpose of helping women overcome their PMS (and PMDD) symptoms in the most natural and effective way posible. The blend of natural ingredients produce an entourage effect when taken to maximise the pain relieving effects that occur during PMDD and/or PMS. Find out more about Illumis – PMS Formula here!
- Diet and lifestyle changes: It is also without question that major changes in your daily habits and diets may also heavily influence your PMDD symptoms. It is important to note that a healthy body that is working properly is always the best remedy towards any condition or issue. Stopping habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, eating fast food, eating out in general may help reduce PMDD symptoms. Increasing your healthy food intake like eating fruits and vegetable are a great way to start feeling better. Regurlary doing exercise and keeping your body in motion is also very important in order to keep the body and mind in a balanced and healthy state! Try regular walks, runs and yoga on a daily basis.
In conclusion, PMDD is a severe case of PMS and is a condition suffered by a small portion fo women worldwide. The main differences between PMS and PMDD are that PMDD symptoms are much more extreme and may cause much more disruptions during the day compared to PMS. PMDD is a real condition and if you feel like you may be experiencing symptoms like dysmenorrhea, unbearable period pain, back pain, extreme mood swings, random unjustified anger then you may want to see a trusted health practitioner or doctor.
There are a number remedies available for you to try that may help reduce these said symptoms. Our top picks are illumis, vitamin B6, and yoga (incase you where wondering). It is of course always a good idea to discuss this with your health practitioner especially if pregnant or breast feeding!