*I am not affiliated with any brand I mention in this post*
So it turns out I have PMDD which stands for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. According to the Office on Women’s Health, PMDD is a more serious version of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and can cause irritability, depression, or anxiety in the two weeks before your period starts.
Some symptoms that I displayed are the following: irritability, high levels of anxiety, sleeping pattern changes (sleeping less than usual), restlessness, and binge eating. Before I was diagnosed with PMDD, I thought I was having hypo-manic episodes before my periods because they share a lot of the same symptoms for me. If you are in a similar situation I’d suggest talking about your symptoms to a psychiatrist or doctor who can really get down to the bottom of it.
Now I read that many women with diagnosed depression or anxiety also have PMDD. That rings true for me being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and anxiety.
What are some treatments for PMDD?
Antidepressants (SSRIs) can be used along with birth control. I am not able to take antidepressants because they make me go manic but I am starting birth control. I am trying one specifically aimed at treating PMDD. It is called Yaz and has the active ingredients of drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. So that might be an option if you have tried other birth control pills/methods and those haven’t helped you with your severe PMS or PMDD. I will update you on how the Yaz is working for me in another post.
My Tips for Difficult Periods
- Use a heating pad or take a hot shower/bath
- Take pain relievers before cramps take over
- Try gentle exercise like taking a walk or doing yoga
- Wear comfy clothes
- Let yourself cry
- Try breathing exercises. I like breathing in for 4 seconds, holding for 4, and breathing out for 4.
- Ask your psychiatrist for anxiety medication if that is a main symptom
- Inform loved ones you are going to start your period soon
- Set a sleep schedule
- Do guided meditations
- Listen to calming or happy music
- If you are sensitive to disposable pads, try cloth ones
- Track your period (I like using Clue)