PMDD, ADHD, & MeI’ve always had really awful periods my whole life. Starting right after I turned 14, I spent high school and college suffering a great deal. Not only with the physical symptoms (and trust me I had EVERY single one of them on any given list) but also with the emotional and mental symptoms, too. As I’ve gotten older, my emotional symptoms have gotten substantially worse. Instead of just being sad and irritable a week before, it’s two weeks before. Ramping up to perimenopause, even more symptoms are coming my way. About 10 years ago, the term PMDD caught my eye, and I’ve been researching everything to do with it ever since.

PMDD has been described as “PMS on steroids.” According to the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders, PMDD is a “hormone-based mood disorder.” It has to do with going from the follicular phase to your luteal phase of your cycle (right around mid-month). Women with PMDD have an intense sensitivity to this switch. Symptoms can be the same as PMS symptoms but much more severe at least at times and lasting up to two weeks (luteal phase) before your cycle starts. There are a few things that are tricky about it: there is no blood test to confirm it (much like PMS). It’s to be tracked for at least a few months and you can talk with your gynecologist about your symptoms. Even testing your hormones cannot tell if you have it specifically. Sometimes your hormones are balanced but you can still have PMDD as it’s your reaction to the switch of the hormone phase-not your hormone levels.

To talk a bit about my own experience, it can be excruciatingly debilitating unfortunately. Those two weeks before your cycle begins as a person with PMDD are hard to navigate at times. I personally am still researching, trying different supplements and different tactics with my diet (low caffeine, sugar, dairy and alcohol as these all definitely make it worse for me). I personally am on a mild anti-depressant daily now which I think helps. This does not help with my attention deficit disorder (PMDD and ADHD seem to be a common thing to have at the same time). It does help with my anxiety, feelings of overwhelm, irritability and anger, especially during my luteal phase. I have heard a lot of physicians prescribing birth control but this definitely always made everything worse for me. There are a few kinds out there that could make you have fewer cycles….I have not tried those. There are also progesterone only pills (mini-pill) which have to be taken at the same time every day or render ineffective.

Overall, I am just trying to navigate PMDD as my symptoms and body have changed over the last few years. Having a baby, a trying birth experience, a cesarean section (all during COVID shutdown times) and now into my 40’s, nothing ever stays the same exactly so navigating the changes as well. It will be worth it once I’m feeling better to be a better person for myself, my son, and my family.


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