I’ve battled PMDD for as long as I can remember.
Over the past couple of years, I have spent a decent amount of time trying to regulate my menstrual cycle. My story, like many teenage girls in America, begins when I was put on the birth control pill shortly after getting my period.
For years I battled horrible PMS and PMDD. In this post, I am going to talk about the similarities, differences, and natural methods you can take to help heal PMS and PMDD.
PMS vs. PMDD
PMS stands for premenstrual syndrome, and it refers to a change in your physical and emotional symptoms right before your period because of your shifting in hormones. PMS usually results in cystic acne, irritability, mood swings, bloating, painful cramping, and an overall lack of energy.
PMDD stands for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and it is far more severe than PMS. It causes intense irritability, depression, and/or anxiety. It’s basically a severe form of PMS.
Unfortunately, PMS/PMDD/women’s health in general, is underrepresented in science, and testing is limited so how much we know about these conditions is also limited.
That said, we don’t really know the causes of PMS and PMDD specifically. What we do know is that throughout the menstrual cycle different chemical levels like serotonin and GABA fluctuate depending on the phase.
If you follow along on Instagram, then you have already heard my spiel on serotonin and the impact it has on your health. Basically, it’s a happy chemical, that contributes to your overall feelings of wellbeing. When you are in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, the serotonin dips, which can lead to the negative feelings that come with PMS and PMDD.
While PMS and PMDD differentiate in many ways, let’s outline the few ways they are similar.
- PMS and PMDD both come with symptoms like: cystic acne, irritability, mood swings, bloating, painful cramping, and an overall lack of energy.
- Symptoms typically come five to seven days before your menstrual period starts.
- It is easy to confuse anxiety disorders and depression with PMS and PMDD.
While they may seem similar, the differences are dramatic. While PMS symptoms come and go, PMDD symptoms are way more severe and detrimental.
Personally, I’ve experienced both, with PMDD symptoms becoming increasingly stronger and more evident in my adult life. If you’ve followed along on here for a while then you know I’ve had quite the mental health battle over the years.
I think being chronically ill can do this to a person, but about a year ago I realized that my worst depression days always came on similar days throughout the month. I started tracking my cycle and sure enough, I realized they coincided with my luteal phase.
I talked to my doctor, and she confirmed the assumptions I had made. While I definitely had depression, a lot of it was tied to my menstrual cycle, diagnosing me with PMDD.
While a diagnosis can sometimes be scary, for me they’ve always brought comfort. They signal to me that yes something is wrong and I’m not just experiencing debilitating health problems with no explanation.
When I was diagnosed with PMDD the doctor immediately tried to put me back on birth control. I was surprised that she would even suggest it because I had already voiced my opinion about the drug so many times.
But she did, and I declined, and my mission to find PMDD decreasing supplements began.
Luckily for me, the internet provided a world of resources. I tried and tested a multitude of supplements before I found the group that helped ease my symptoms the most.
7 natural supplements to help with PMS + PMDD
These supplements have helped me a lot in my journey with PMDD and maybe they can help you too! I always like to emphasize that I am not a doctor nor a licensed professional (although I will be a certified holistic nutritionist this spring) so these are merely suggestions of things that helped me, not medical advice.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read! Let me know if you’ve struggled with PMS or PMDD and if you have any methods that have helped you!
My next post on hormonal health will share the details behind 9 natural supplements that help ease the symptoms of PMS and PMDD.
P.S. If you enjoyed this piece check out “7 Natural Supplements to Help You Get Through a Cold.“