Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is one mighty tough form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that hits a small bunch of menstruating women. While PMS might bring on some light physical and emotional symptoms before Aunt Flo pays her visit, PMDD ramps things up with a whole mess of intense symptoms that can downright disrupt daily life. Wrapping your head around PMDD, its symptoms, and what can be done about it is key for those who reckon with its effects.
PMDD symptoms usually kick in a week or two before the monthly cycle and start to ease up once the floodgates open. These symptoms can shake things up both physically and emotionally, and they might vary from one gal to the next. Common symptoms include:
Severe mood swings: Feeling lower than a snake’s belly, plumb hopeless, or madder than a wet hen, all in a way stronger fashion than your usual mood swings.
Depression or anxiety: Feeling down in the dumps, nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin’ chairs, or wound up tighter than a tick in a dog’s ear, all messing with your day-to-day.
Intense anger or irritability: Flyin’ off the handle, seeing red, or getting as prickly as a porcupine, especially when dealing with folks or situations.
Fatigue: Feeling more worn out than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin’ contest, even with a good night’s rest.
Physical symptoms: Swelling up like a toad, tender as a spring chicken, head poundin’ like a woodpecker on a tin roof, muscles achin’ like you’ve been wrasslin’ a bear, and your appetite and sleep patterns doing the hokey-pokey.
There’s a few things you can do to tackle PMDD and get back to smooth sailin’:
Medications: Docs often prescribe antidepressants, especially those selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to help dial down the emotional rollercoaster of PMDD. Hormonal birth control like pills, patches, or intrauterine devices (IUDs) can also help keep those hormones in check and symptoms in line.
Lifestyle tweaks: Keepin’ up with regular exercise, sticking to a balanced diet, and finding ways to wrangle that stress, whether it’s through mindfulness, yoga, or some good ol’ meditation, can help take the edge off PMDD. Layin’ off the caffeine, booze, and sweets might also smooth things out.

Supplements: Some folks find relief from PMDD by poppin’ certain supplements like calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, or omega-3 fatty acids. It’s always wise to run it by your healthcare provider before diving in.
Therapy: Talkin’ it out with a therapist, whether it’s cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), or some other flavor, can help you figure out ways to wrangle PMDD.
Home Remedies for PMDD:
In addition to the doctor’s orders and lifestyle tweaks, there’s some home remedies that might lend a hand:
Herbal helpers: Some swear by herbs like chasteberry, evening primrose oil, or St. John’s wort to ease up PMS and PMDD symptoms, but tread carefully and chat with your doc first.
Acupuncture: Stickin’ needles in certain spots, a practice known as acupuncture, might take the edge off PMDD for some folks. Research is still cookin’ on how well it works, but some reckon it helps with mood swings and such.
Aromatherapy: Sniffin’ on essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or clary sage might help calm the nerves, dial down stress, and smooth out those mood swings. Just be sure to handle ’em safely and maybe chat with someone in the know.
PMDD can really throw a wrench in the works for both body and mind. But thankfully, there’s a whole toolkit of treatments, from meds and lifestyle changes to therapy and home remedies, to help you take the reins back on your health and well-being. If PMDD’s got you down in the dumps, don’t be shy about reaching out to the pros for a game plan that suits you.

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Crystal Shackelford, APRN