PMDD stands for ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder’ and is a more severe version of PMS (short for 'premenstrual syndrome').
PMDD sets off a host of emotional and physical symptoms a few days or weeks before your period and can make your normal routine seem like an impossible mountain to climb. For some women, symptoms can last for weeks while for others they can clear after a few days.
Fatigue and lack of energy
Sleeping too much or too little
Changes in appetite including cravings
Breast tenderness or swelling
Pain in muscles and joints
Changes to your vision
Increased fluid retention (swollen hands and ankles)
Peeing less than usual
Digestive issues (constipation, nausea or cramps)
Feeling hopeless and sad
Feeling anxious or tense
Fluctuations in mood
Losing interest in daily activities
Withdrawing from social situations
Forgetting things more than usual
Diminished sex drive
Crying more than usual
If you are having suicidal thoughts, there are organisations that can help. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 988 (you can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis-informed counsellor). In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123, or emailed at email@example.com. In Australia, you can call 13 11 14. Live somewhere else? Find your closest helpline at befrienders.org.
When it comes to birth control, it’s important to note that:
• It doesn’t work for everyone and in some cases can make mental health symptoms worse. If your symptoms remain the same or worsen after a few months of trial, speak to your healthcare provider about stopping or trying a different kind of birth control. If your symptoms become severe, speak to your doctor ASAP.
• If you are currently on a form of birth control that doesn’t contain drospirenone and are still impacted by PMDD, it’s worth speaking to a healthcare provider about changing to something that does contain drospirenone and seeing if your symptoms improve.
• You might benefit from taking pills continuously and avoiding the short break or sugar pill days in their pack. This interval triggers a hormone change that may impact you if you're sensitive to hormone fluctuations.