Exploring Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

Jeff Foxworthy kind of hit the nail on the head when he said his wife was a hypochondriac:

My wife and I, we love watching, like, Dateline, 20/20, those shows. But you know how every week they will feature a disease. And I swear to you, every week, no matter what the disease is, my wife has it.

There could be three people on the planet that have this disease, my wife is one of them. She just watches it going “I’ve got it.”

I have every one of those symptoms. I’m like “you do not have testicular cancer.”
You don’t even have testiculars.”
featured at http://www.quotesworthrepeating.com/quote-by/j/jeff-foxworthy/123-joke-by-jeff-foxworthy/#qJtf2AydiWJALOfC.99

 

pms_01

It is really tough having diseases and disorders.

I mean, sure, it’s tough dealing with them.  But most of the time, it is hard figuring out which one is actually happening:

Is it an aura for a seizure?

Is it a panic attack?

Is it an SVT attack?

Is it a Celiac reaction?

Is it a hormone crash?

…could be any of these, a lot of the time.  Fortunately, I’ve been dealing with them all for so long, I kind of have them figured out by now.  For the most part.  If anything, I don’t tend to freak out as much as I used to, and that is helpful.  I don’t think I am going to die, so I got that goin’ for me.

Celiac, Epilepsy and SVT are all pretty under control.  I got it.

But the hormone problems…I just never found an answer for.  5 days during Ovulation, which are paralyzing pain episodes, stabbing pain through my pelvis, migraines, mood swings, vomiting from extreme pain, inability to eat without throwing up; debilitating fatigue, loss (not lack) of energy, and pretty crabby if I can’t help it…it’s just rough.  Then a couple days off, and then PMS 9 days before my cycle.  Same routine as ovulation.  But once the period begins, I feel normal again.  I can breathe easier by then.  And I have a few days until it begins again…

 

Me: “My periods are kind of…extreme.”

Doctor: “Try Tylenol.  Have you tried Tylenol yet?  Try Motrin and Tylenol at the same time.  See if that helps.”

 

It doesn’t help.  And I hate being dependent on pain killers just in order to survive the days.  It is frustrating, and it is demoralizing.  What I hear is, “We don’t know what is wrong with you, so manage the pain until you die.”

And that is not a solution.  Not for me.

I have tried diets, I have tried exercise, I have tried yoga, I have tried supplements, and last year I tried hormone therapy.  And that made everything so much worse.  The pain was unbearable, and it lasted for weeks every month.  The few days off were a godsend at that point.  I asked my doctor, and he said, “Hmm.  Try this one instead.” Which isn’t a solution, either.  I need something a little more scientifically structured than shooting in the dark.

Finally getting the term, Premenstrual Dysphonic Disorder is a breath of relief.

I can finally wrap my head around what is going on, and work on daily solutions to make my days more bearable.  I won’t feel helpless when I am paralyzed by pain that Motrin can’t touch, and I won’t feel like I am going crazy because…this is not “just PMS.”  This is something different.

Instead of looking at balancing my hormones, I am looking at balancing my serotonin levels.

Instead of feeling crazy, I feel like I have the strength to conquer this.

And damned if I’m not going to.

 

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Like PMS, premenstrual dysphoric disorder follows a predictable, cyclic pattern. Symptoms begin in the late luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (after ovulation) and end shortly after menstruation begins.[8] On average, the symptoms last six days, with the most intense symptoms happening in the two days before through the day of the start of menstrual blood flow.[9]

Emotional symptoms are generally present, and in PMDD, mood symptoms are dominant.[8] Substantial disruption to personal relationships is typical for women with PMDD.[8]Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include[10]

  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of tension or anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings or frequent crying
  • Lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
  • Trouble thinking or focusing
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Food cravings or binge eating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling out of control
  • Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

The symptoms occur during the week before menstruation, and go away once it starts. A diagnosis of PMDD requires the presence of at least five of these symptoms.[10]

 

caveat: I might not have this, since the doctors also diagnosed me with endometriosis 2 years ago, and I really don’t think that’s the case.  But crap, who knows by now.  At least this is something new to work with.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004461/ 

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