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Saturday, August 13, 2011

5 ways to cope with PMDD

Premenstrual dysphoric  disorder (PMDD) is an intense form of PMS or as I like to put it PMS to the extreme! They say it only affects 3 - 8 per cent of women. Honestly I don't believe the numbers. The more I talk to women about PMDD the more I find with the same symptoms.  Symptoms include persistent irritability, anger, tension, depression, fatigue, food cravings, headaches and some major mood swings. There are other symptoms, but I think you get the idea. Women living with PMDD really struggle with their daily lives.

Speaking from personal experience, this affects all of my relationships. I WANT to stop being angry and irritable but just can't do it. (And no it's not because I haven't tried hard enough.) Having said that there are way to try and make it through without pulling out all of your hair.

1. Medication: This could be birth control, antidepressants,  Nutritional supplements, or herbal remedies. I've tried both antidepressants and birth control. The antidepressants worked fine but I had benefits at the time and only had to pay a fraction of the cost. I've been taking Yaz for a little more than a year. I still have some really rough months but I'm not feeling the symptoms for 3 out of 4 weeks every month. Now it's really a few days before my period and I often forget that's why I'm so cranky.

2. Diet: No I don't mean you need to go on a diet, but from the many articles and blogs I've come across, eating healthier can really help. Some people go into great detail to avoid very specific foods. I find when I completely avoid certain foods I end up bingeing. So, while I can see the benefits to limiting caffeine and sugar I personally won't give it all up….I'd totally lose my mind… Try eating balanced meals and I'm sure you'll notice a decline in your  symptoms.

3. Exercise: What can I say? Exercise can help a great many ailments. Check out the benefits of weight lifting. You don't have to go all out and purchase a gym membership a simple walk around the neighborhood can be really effective. I say this, but I know it can be very hard to workout when you just want to curl into a ball on the floor. Try whatever works for you. For me, I have to force myself to workout and then I always feel 100 times better. 

4. Support: This is a big one. We as women need to open up more, the more we talk about problems like PMS, PMDD, Depression the easier it gets for others to open up too. There's such a stigma with mood disorders - it's frustrating. Be open with your family, let them know when you're starting to feel your mood change.  Last but not least seek medical attention. Find what works best for you. If you come across anyone that doesn't believe PMDD exists, seek another opinion! I had one doctor roll his eyes at me. I did eventually find a doctor that took me seriously. Life isn't perfect, I still struggle, but as I mentioned before it's more manageable. 

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