The week leading up to your period is a monthly experience that affects all vagina-having human beings differently. Some women breeze through the week prior like it’s nothing. Some women feel more tired than normal, and get a few extra pimples. Some experience bloating and back pain. Some ladies feel more emotional during this time. Then there’s the unlucky group of us who feel all of these things and then some. We’ve been taught that these are the symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) and it’s typically not a big deal.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed the intensity of my PMS symptoms have increased. Instead of feeling a little bit aggravated, I’m giving death stares to puppies (and I love puppies!). Instead of feeling overly sad that I dropped my favorite flavored jelly bean on the ground, dropping that jelly bean opens the flood gates to cry about everything that I feel is wrong with my life. Instead of a yawn here and there, I need a 4 hour nap to get through the day. Why though? It was literally all good just a week ago. Then I realized, this can’t just be PMS. I have PMDD. PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is the way more intense, wicked step-sister to PMS and she did not come to play with you heauxs.
PMDD only affects a small portion of women, around 2%-10%, and you are more likely to have PMDD if you have a history of depression or depression runs in your family. The cause is not quite known, but according to research, it is most likely due to the drastic hormonal changes that take place within our bodies during menstruation.
You may have PMDD if you suffer from the following symptoms:
- • Extreme irritability and anger
- • Drastic mood swings within very short periods of time
- • Chronic fatigue
- • Feeling out of control of your emotions
- • Anxiety and tension
- • Lack of interest in usual activities
- • Feelings of hopelessness and very depressed mood
- • Joint or muscle pain
- • Swelling/bloating
If you have these symptoms and they continuously affect your day to day life and relationships with others in an extreme way for approximately a week each month, then you may need to speak to your health care professional. Be honest with your doctor about all of your experiences, both physical and emotional, so that she or he can get the most accurate information and figure out the best treatment plan for you. Women being on a warpath when Aunt Flow is headed to town is running joke, but don’t let outside influences diminish or belittle how you feel if you think there is truly something deeper going on. You know you best and you should never hesitate to take care of you.