PMDD: PMS, But Worse

Let’s face it: periods suck.

Periods make you feel crampy and bloated and irritable; it’s an all-around unpleasant experience. Coupled with premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, it gets even worse. So, before you even have to deal with all of the pain and discomfort (unless you’re one of the few lucky ones who doesn’t have cramps), you also have to deal with anywhere from a few days to a week of feeling miserable and moody.

PMS is definitely no laughing matter. Some people experience feelings of sadness, aches, pains, bouts of anger, and other very unpleasant emotions and physical sensations. However, those symptoms can sometimes be a lot worse for some people. And for those people, PMS is a lot more than just feeling emotionally and physically sensitive for a few days. Anywhere from 2% to 10% of people who menstruate have PMS so extreme that it affects their ability to function during the days leading up to their period. When PMS gets that extreme, it gets renamed “premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” or “PMDD” for short.

PMDD can be incredibly difficult to deal with and can cause symptoms such as mood swings, depressed moods or feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, aches and pains, and fatigue. So, if you’ve ever wondered if your PMS symptoms were a little bit more extreme than other people’s, you just might be right. And, if you have depression or have a family history of depression, you’re at a much higher risk of having PMDD. Even though doctors aren’t completely sure what causes PMS or PMDD, there’s a high probability that it’s either caused by hormonal changes or a lack of serotonin in the brain. Thankfully, if you suspect that you might suffer from PMDD, there are a variety of treatment options. After getting an official diagnosis, your doctor can tell you which treatment path is right for you. Treatment options include dietary changes, birth control medication, counseling, or a combination of methods.

And if you do suffer from PMDD (or PMS), remember that you are not alone. Even if people sometimes like to make fun of PMS and period pain, remember that your feelings are absolutely valid.

For more information about PMDD, check out this WedMD article!


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