While PMS affects around 75% of women of child-bearing age, about 5% of women are affected by symptoms much worse than premenstrual syndrome. They suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which disrupts their lives severely.
Just like PMS, PMDD is linked to the female reproductive system and menstrual cycle. However, PMDD is set apart by it’s severity.
Apart from breast tenderness, fatigue, irritability, moodiness and bloatedness, women with PMDD may be suicidal and homicidal and the condition can affect their interpersonal relationships and normal functioning severely.
The symptoms of PMDD usually occur in the 5 days preceding menses and disappear the moment your period starts, whereas with PMS the physical symptoms and moodswings will usually be around for a few more days.
After ovulation, a woman’s serotonin levels drop and this affects her ability to deal with stress. In PMDD the levels drop severely, causing psychological issues and irrational behavior.
PMDD is diagnosed by a clinician and requires both clinical and psychological treatment.
Most doctors will prescribe anti-depressants for PMDD, which is an option for some people, while others prefer to go the natural route due to the dangers of pharmaceutical drugs. Since the condition is relatively newly recognized, some doctors will not be aware of it. It is essential to find a doctor who specializes in gynecological issues.
Here are a few suggestions to help improve the symptoms of PMDD naturally
- Lifestyle Suggestions for PMDD
It is essential that you avoid or at least limit your intake of stimulants such as sugar, salt, tobacco, caffeine and alcohol as well as simple carbohydrates.
Overeating and weight gain should be avoided at all costs. Instead, eat more frequent small meals. Eat plenty leafy green vegetables, complex carbs and lean proteins.
Exercise regularly as this will release feel-good endorphins.
- Dietary recommendations for PMS & PMDD
Certain foods that form part of a balanced diet are known to boost serotonin levels. However, it will also help with several other aspects of your health and thus reduce the symtoms you experience just before the onset of menses.
- 100mg of vitamin B6 has been shown to benefit some of the PMS symptoms.
- Calcium can improve the symptoms of moderate PMS, while magnesium is effective in relieving fluid retention and other physical symptoms of the condition.
- Tang Kuei (dong quai) is a herb that has been trusted by the Chinese for centuries to help with feminine health and stress. I have personally experienced a great result when I used it for insomnia years ago.
Herbalife has an excellent Tang Kuei supplement which I highly recommend for women of all ages and anyone who faces stress, anxiety and sleeplessness.