27 June 2010

How much very severe PMS or PMDD used to affect me

Several years ago, I used to get excruciatingly bad PMS symptoms that could be described to be PMDD (which many experts do not believe exists and I agree).

I used to feel like I had a band of emotional pressure in my head, which would make me want to scream out loud - the pressure felt almost physical it was that bad. I just felt so awful and the intensity of the mood swings and emotions I experienced, were so terrible mostly because they were completely uncontrollable. I was so angry, my mood was totally volatile, I cried at the drop of a hat and felt very offended by anything anyone said to me, no matter how innocuous it was. I couldn't think properly, I couldn't sleep properly, felt very anxious and jittery, I was crying a lot, I felt resentful and angry at everyone and everything - I was very emotionally unbalanced. My mind seemed my worst enemy, with the intense negative emotions coming to a crazy crescendo just on the last day prior to menstruation. And when my periods arrived, it seemed the pressure valve inside my head was suddenly released and my brain could function normally again. I would no longer feel emotionally volatile once the bleeding started.

I went to see a doctor about it (my regular doctor wasn't available, so I saw a substitute) and he recommended I take the contraceptive pill all month long, for about one year, so that I didn't have any periods at all, thinking that would stop my very severe PMS symptoms! Total rubbish advice.  Artificially suppressing menstruation in that way is not healthy for the body and of course I did not take his advice.

When I was able to see my doctor, he recommended I see a gynaecologist to get further advice. The gynaecologist recommended I go on the contraceptive pill with a high level of oestrogen and progesterone. She also recommended anti-depressants and gave me a script for some to take in the two weeks prior to menstruation, but if I couldn't remember, then just to take it all month.

Again, rubbish advice!

I decided to do some research to find out exactly what causes PMS and how I could combat it to feel better again. I discovered that only with perseverance and hard work, I could reduce the symptoms and feel like a normal person. I used certain supplement, better diet choices, more exercise, massage and meditation, which when combined did greatly assist me. I also visited a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who provided some acupuncture and that was a catalyst for positive changes.

Let me re-iterate:

PMDD is not a mental disorder and some experts are finally challenging its classification as a mental disorder when it is clearly tied into the menstrual cycle. If the symptoms occurred all month at the same level, then it would give some indication that it may be a mood disorder, but since it does not, it is clear that it is not.

There are alternatives to taking anti-depressants and the contraceptive pill, which are viable and better for your health overall.

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