Hey, Lovelies, I hope you all are having a true #HotGirlSummer (I do mean HOT cause this heat isn’t normal) and living it up despite all of the craziness surrounding us. Chile, everything is high except my wages, we’re about to be battling COVID-19 and Monkeypox, and the trailer for Wakanda Forever has me in my feelings. I was scrolling on Twitter, avoiding my responsibilities, and came across a thread of women talking about their experiences with PMDD, and I knew we needed to talk about it. We also have a co-author for this article to discuss her experience with PMDD. This isn’t your regular period talk that some of us may or may not have gotten, so let’s get into it!
Did you Know?
- 90% of women and menstruating people experience common PMS symptoms of bloating, cramping, irritability, and fatigue.
- 3-8% of women and menstruating people have PMDD.
- About 30 percent of people with PMDD attempt suicide at one point in their lives.
Not Your Regular PMS
I know that I can’t be the only one who loathes that time of the month, simply because I know that PMS is going to get the best of me and have me craving sugar, vacillating between crying and cursing people out, and dealing with cramps that have me down for the count. I swear the movie “Turning Red” is the story of my life every month!
However, some women and menstruating people experience this on a magnified level with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a more severe form of PMS with extreme irritability, anxiety, or depression (think “Turning Red” meets “Diary of a Mad Black Woman”, closet scene).
While PMS and PMDD have some of the same physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes severe mood shifts that can interrupt a person’s ability to function in daily life, such as work, school, relationships, and most importantly themselves.
Physical and emotional symptoms typically occur one to two weeks before menstruation when estrogen and progesterone decrease and subsides when menstruation is over and hormone levels rise again.
The cause of PMDD is unknown, but it is thought to be caused by the body’s sensitivity to hormonal changes that happen with each menstrual cycle. The hormonal changes can cause a serotonin deficiency, a neurotransmitter that mediates happiness, satisfaction, and optimism (see Love, you’re not crazy).
To be diagnosed with PMDD, keep track of your symptoms for a few months and if you have five or more of the symptoms below during most menstrual cycles, report it to your doctor or another medical professional. So, if it’s about to be that time of the month before you key his Hellcat, cut your hair off, or quit your job (even though Beyoncé told us to), please check to see if you have PMDD.
RELATED: Is It PMS Or PMDD?
- Depressed mood, negative thoughts or feelings toward self, hopelessness
- Anxiety, nervousness, tension
- Significant mood changes
- Anger, irritability, increased conflict with others
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite
- Extreme fatigue, low energy
- Feeling overwhelmed or out of control
- Bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, muscle pain
Some Ways to Manage PMDD
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
- Lower intake of salt, caffeine, and sugar
- Increase fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbs in your diet
- Getting adequate sleep
Dynecia Clark’s Personal Experience with PMDD
I was extremely excited about the topic when I initially agreed to contribute to this article. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is not a