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Bad PMS or PMDD? Period coach gives us the lowdown

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In this blog, we are chatting to our certified period coach Katherine Glyde about how to tell the difference between bad PMS and PMDD.

What is PMS?

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the name coined for the symptoms you experience in the lead-up to your period. It is really common to experience symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, cramps, and bloating before your period arrives. Hormonal fluctuations that happen throughout the menstrual cycle cause these symptoms.

So, what is PMDD?

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe and disabling form of PMS.

PMS vs PMDD

With PMS, the symptoms tend to start around the same time each month and lesson as your period starts. As frustrating as it may be to experience these symptoms, PMS shouldn’t stop you from carrying on with your day-to-day life.

However, if your symptoms feel more severe than that and they are having a negative impact on your quality of life, it could be that your PMS is actually PMDD.

What are the symptoms of PMDD?

The symptoms of PMDD are similar to PMS, however, they are much more severe and can last longer than PMS symptoms do.

PMDD can impact those living with it both emotionally and physically. Symptoms usually occur between ovulation and menstruation (the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle), which is approximately two weeks.

Physical Symptoms:

• Sleep issues
• Bloating
• Muscle pain
• Headaches

Emotional Symptoms:

• Feelings of increased anger
• Low mood
• Mood swings
• Difficulty concentrating
• Increased anxiety
• Tense feelings
• Feelings of overwhelm or lack of control

This list is not exhaustive and not everyone with PMDD will experience all of these symptoms.
In severe cases of PMDD, symptoms can lead to increased low mood and suicidal thoughts. If you experience any of these please do seek immediate support.

What causes PMDD?

The exact cause of PMDD is not known, but it’s thought it could be due to an abnormal reaction to hormonal fluctuations that happen during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (the week before your period).

Other research has shown that in some cases PMDD may be linked to stressful and traumatic past events, such as emotional or physical abuse.

How is PMDD diagnosed?

There are no formal tests right now to diagnose PMDD, however, if you do have any concerns speak to your GP or Gynecologist to discuss your symptoms. It would be helpful to track your symptoms for a few cycles to be able to really give them a sense of what’s going on for you.

A huge thank you to our period coach Katherine for working with us on this blog. If you are living with PMDD, remember you are not alone. There is help and support out there, so please don’t suffer in silence. You can’t find more blogs on PMDD here.

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