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Why Am I So Depressed On My Period? Everything You Need To Know About PMDD.

Why Am I So Depressed On My Period?

There’s a type of premenstrual syndrome that’s not as spoken about but just as severe, even more so, than PMS. Some refer to it as severe PMS but medically, it’s called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and it’s the reason why you get so depressed on your periods.  

PMDD, affecting between 3% - 8% of women who experience PMS, drastically alters how you function on your period - the major difference between it and PMS is duration and intensity. PMDD is known to end as you approach menopause however, your symptoms will likely show a week before each period and leave again when your period starts. Women may experience PMDD at any stage of their life, but it is more prominent in women who have a family history of PMDD, women of child-bearing age and women with other underlying mental health issues.

Researchers debate over the exact cause of PMDD but they do agree that like PMS, it is hormone related. During the premenstrual stage of your cycle, also known as the luteal stage, studies have shown there’s a fluctuation in brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) that happens as a result of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone rising and falling. This can lead to a number of physical, emotional and mental symptoms including: 

  • Mood/emotional changes
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Hopelessness
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Tension
  • Depressed mood
  • Tired
  • Changes in appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Breast tenderness
  • Migraines
  • Hot Flashes

How Can I manage my PMDD symptoms at home?

A number of techniques used in managing or treating PMS are useful for the management or treatment of PMDD. For example, changes to your diet can help alleviate some of your PMDD symptoms. Food high in magnesium, vitamin B6 and calcium can reduce water retention and relax muscle cramps.  We have a very informative post on our Instagram around the types of food to avoid and consume on your period, which might be useful as a starting point.  Relaxation techniques such as yoga (any form of gentle exercise) and meditation may provide you with some relief. Gifting yourself our self-care box as a way to boost your happy hormones may also help you mentally. Our self-care boxes contain organic tampons, chocolates and skin care/ lifestyle items.

How do I get formally diagnosed?

Speaking to your doctor should be the first point of call if you note any of the above happening to you and/or if you feel that your PMS symptoms are severe. Your doctor will likely assess you to rule out any other mental health issues and walk you through your symptoms before formally diagnosing you. They will likely offer you a course of treatment thereafter.

PMDD is not something that you should ignore. It should be taken seriously because of how traumatic an episode it can be. If you are in any doubt, you may want to keep track of your symptoms so that you can start to notice cycle patterns. Having this information to hand will help you to defend the changes if asked by a health professional.

Put your periods at the centre of self-care again.  Own your body in all its glory and advocate for it.


Image credit: Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

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