It is common knowledge that women can be a little more cranky and emotional around their menstrual cycle. However, for some women, their period is not just an inconvenience but something that can be incredibly debilitating and detrimental to their mental health. In fact, some women suffer from a condition called Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD. While people with this disorder will likely experience both mental and physical side effects, the most concerning side effects, in this case, are often how an individual is affected mentally. Typically, women who suffer from this disorder experience severe depression around the time of their menstrual cycle. This is a serious condition, and it is important to raise awareness about it so those that do suffer from it can know to seek proper help.
Understanding What PMDD Is
Someone with this type of disorder will typically experience side effects anywhere from seven to ten days before their cycle begins. Just as is common with typical premenstrual syndrome, a woman with this disorder will often experience breast tenderness, bloating, cramps, and changes in their eating or sleeping habits. The issues that are going to really stand out are in connection with their mood. Someone with PMDD will often experience feelings of incredible sadness, hopelessness, and frustration. They may go through very sudden mood changes, become irrationally angry and even lash out at those they love. They may also feel very anxious and tense.
Doctors do not know exactly why some women experience this disorder, and others do not. However, it is believed that it is connected to the changes in hormones that occur during a woman’s menstrual cycle. The good news is that some preventative measures and treatments are available, and those who suffer from this disorder do not need to do so in silence.
Seeking Treatment for PMDD
If you think you suffer from PMDD, the first thing you should do is reach out to your primary care provider. Remember that this is nothing to be ashamed of and that you’re not the only woman going through this. Your doctor can help provide you with a diagnosis and help you take the first steps towards feeling better. In some cases, prescription medication is necessary to help a person struggling with this disorder. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may help reduce symptoms. A doctor may also recommend that someone with PMDD consider going on birth control. Some birth controls can help regulate hormones and reduce not only the mental side effects of PMDD but the physical ones as well.
Some additional ideas that may help someone struggling with PMDD include:
- Take daily supplements, especially Vitamin B-6 and magnesium. (Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new supplements.)
- Cutting back on caffeine can increase anxiety and make mental symptoms worse. It can also increase bloating and indigestion.
- Avoiding tobacco
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep on a regular basis
- Eating well-rounded, nutritious meals
- Avoiding overly salty or heavily processed foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Consider using a heating pad on your lower abdomen
- Take a hot bath
Do not Forget Self-Care
Self-care is so important for good, stable mental health, but it is especially crucial for those who struggle with PMDD. While some people consider self-care selfish, it is not at all. Rather, it is the process of doing whatever is necessary to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The type of self-care that works for one person might not work for the next. The key is finding what is most effective for you. Consider the things that bring you joy, contentment, and satisfaction. These are the things you should focus on extra hard during this time. They can make a significant difference in your life. Some common examples of self-care include:
- Listening to relaxing music
- Taking the time to journal and work through your emotions
- Asking for help when you need it
- Spending quality time with a family member or friend
- Talking to a therapist
- Trying some breathing exercises
- Spending time in the presence of a calming animal
- Reading a chapter of a book
- Cooking your favorite, healthy meal
- Taking a day off from work
- Taking a nap
- Watching the sunset
- Turn off your phone for awhile
- Watch an episode of one of your favorite uplifting shows
- Go for a drive without having any specific destination
- Go for a walk or take a bike ride
- Spend time out in nature
- Write down five things that you’re grateful for
- Destress with a calming cup of non-caffeinated tea
For some women, their monthly menstrual cycle is nothing more than an inconvenience that they have to prepare for. They might be a little cranky and experience some cramps that eventually pass. But for some women, their period can be very debilitating and can take a toll on their mental health, even causing severe anxiety and depression. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is a condition in which women experience extremely serious mental health trouble during their period as a result of changes in their hormones. This condition can often be remedied by antidepressants or by going on birth control. Supplements and diet, and lifestyle changes can also help relieve symptoms. If you struggle with this condition, you’ll want to be sure you’re practicing self-care. At Achieve Concierge, we can help you achieve better mental health. Call (619) 393-5871 today to learn more about the types of services we provide.