When PMS is More Than "Just" PMS

"That time of the month" is commonly unpleasant for many women for a number of various reasons.  Is it normal?  Well, I suppose it's become normalized because it's so common but guess what - it's not normal to experience severe premenstrual symptoms, especially when it comes to changes in mood and affect.  Premenstrual dystrophic disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that involves particularly marked psychological symptoms that can cause disruption of daily life.

Common symptoms of PMDD can be found below.  Usually, five or more of these symptoms are present, starting the week before your period and subsiding within of a few days of menstrual flow.

Common Symptoms of Premenstrual Dystrophic Disorder (PMDD)

  • Marked depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness or self-depreciating thoughts
  • Marked anxiety and tension
  • Marked mood swings
  • Persistent marked anger, irritability or interpersonal conflict
  • Decreased interest in usual daily activities
  • Subjective sense of difficulty in concentrating
  • Lethargy, easy fatigablility or marked lack of energy
  • Marked change in appetite or specific food cravings
  • Sleeping too much (hypersomnia) or having problems falling and/or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control
  • Other physical symptoms such as breast tenderness or swelling, headaches, joint or muscle pain, a sensation of "bloating" or weight gain

Some menstrual cycles can be better or worse than others and it's important to keep a monthly chart to track symptoms.  If you're someone who can relate to a picture of PMDD, it's important to get the help you need by talking to a healthcare professional.  From dietary and lifestyle changes to counselling to conventional medications, evidence-based nutrient therapies and botanical medicinal approaches, a sound management plan for PMDD is multifactorial and most certainly attainable.

It's not "all in your head" and there's so much that can be done for those suffering from mental health concerns.  Depending on what the root cause for the symptoms may be, treatment plans will always differ.  This is why it's so important to be informed on what the root cause of your symptoms are in order to receive the most appropriate care that will benefit you the most.