Are Your PMS Symptoms Actually Premenstrual Dysfunctional Disorder (PMDD)?


Are your PMS symptoms more than the typical PMS? The Office of Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services reports that over 90% of women struggle with some form of PMS.

PMS is includes a variety of symptoms like:

  • Fatigue

  • Bloating

  • Breakouts

  • Irritability/Mood Swings

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Headaches

  • Lower libido

  • Cramps

  • Breast tenderness

  • Weight gain from water retention

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Joint pain

  • Feeling weepy

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Lower tolerance to light/noise

Then there are about 5% of women who struggle with a more intense version of PMS, which is called premenstrual dysfunctional disorder, otherwise known as PMDD, also reported by the Office of Women's Health at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

PMDD becomes more than PMS when it causes severe irritability, depression, and anxiety, one to two weeks before your period.

I personally noticed it would get super intense the three days leading up to my period.

Women will notice these emotions go away by the third day of their period. You can get these wide range of emotions that basically feel uncontrollable. The emotions can also showcase other symptoms like headaches, bloating, trouble sleeping, joint pain and breast tenderness.

This was the category I fell into.

It felt like I couldn't control my emotions and I'd fall into a mini depression. Then there was the insane amount of bloating where I'd gain 5 lbs. of water retention overnight. It would hang around for a full week and at the time I thought something was wrong with me. I'd obsess over food and increase my workouts because I thought I was "gaining weight". I won't even get into the debilitating migraines.

PMDD impacted me emotionally and physically, stealing my self confidence with every symptom. And for the longest time I didn't even know I had it or could even make the connection. That's why I wanted to share all of this with you because I know how confusing it can be!

It wasn't until I moved in with Tyler that I realized how much I needed to make a change. He's still surprised at how much our relationship has improved!

Who is more likely to get PMDD?

Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Western medicine will tell you that women who already have depression or anxiety are more likely to have PMDD. Which is true.

In my case, I was not depressed and did not have an anxiety disorder. I fell into the category of women who can be very sensitive to a specific hormone shift that occurs the weeks leading up to our period.

That is the shift of serotonin, one of our feel good hormones.

Serotonin levels change during our monthly cycle. Some women don't notice the impact, while women like me, feel it deeply. Serotonin naturally dips before we get our period. Which is when many women will feel a tad moody and irritable.

In my case, it came three days exactly before my period started. And I was a raging B*. To the outside world, I could hold it together. I was fine at work, but when I'd get on the train to go home, I'd tear up. By the time I got home I'd come through the door I'd have to spend the evening alone.

These experiences are extremely overwhelming because it feels like the emotions come out of nowhere. And your logical brain is with you the whole time, scratching it's head and being like, "what are you actually mad about"

So how did I, a woman who had PMDD go from experiencing severe PMS symptoms to not experiencing PMS at all?

I'd love to tell you it was some quick fix and there's some secret. That's not how hormones or the woman's body works. What I needed to do was approach my health through using hormones as part of my lifestyle, which is why I created the Balanced Bombshells Lifestyle Plan.

Here are the three things that helped me kickstart getting rid of PMDD:

1. Nixing coffee (it can impact our gut health and most of your serotonin is made in the lining of your stomach!)

2. Cycle syncing - less on food and more on using my cycle phases to work through my emotions and set boundaries.

3. Saying no more often - an absolute for your mental and physical health!

Interested in learning more about how to get rid of PMDD? I'm sharing all the strategies I used, along with food, lifestyle changes, and supplements that helped me in my new PMDD program. Join the waitlist to be the first to learn when it goes live!




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DISCLAIMER: Laura Charelle is not a licensed medical professional. The content on this site is for information purposes only and does not equal medical, fitness, or nutrition advice. Any and all health information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult with your physician, especially if you are on medication, have a medical condition, are pregnant, or suspect you could be pregnant.