The realities of living with PMDD

PMDD - aka Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - is an extreme form of PMS that impacts around 1.6% of people with periods. Here we asked 4 women impacted by PMDD and severe PMS to share their experiences. 
Adam Hamdi
Written by

Coni Longden-Jefferson


PMDD - aka Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder - is an extreme form of PMS that impacts around 1.6% of people with periods. Symptoms can include insomnia, body aches, intrusive thoughts, headaches, severe anxiety and can even lead to suicidal thoughts. This condition is still misunderstood and shrouded in shame - so here we asked 4 women impacted by PMDD and severe PMS to share their experiences. 


Key Takeways

  • PMDD is a serious condition and can have far-reaching effects on your life - including impacting your career and relationships.
  • Symptoms can be managed by supporting hormonal balance through diet and lifestyle changes. 
  • Talking to family, friends - and your doctor - can help you get essential support.
  • Many of the natural ingredients in our MyCycle supplement can help to minimise symptoms of PMS. 




PMDD is very similar to PMS but way more severe and debilitating. The clear differentiation is that with PMS, you can function and continue your everyday life. However, with PMDD the symptoms are so severe that it feels like it takes over your body - both physically and mentally. 

Before I got diagnosed with PMDD, it affected my life for over 10 years. Every month before my period, I wanted to kill myself and felt absolutely dreadful. When my PMDD was really severe it affected my work and my relationships significantly. This time last year, I genuinely thought I couldn’t go on anymore but I am one of the fortunate people who has been able to minimise their symptoms naturally.

The things that have helped my PMDD symptoms the most are supplements such as Magnesium Glycinate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin D. Trauma and stress can also be huge triggers for PMDD. Focusing on nervous system regulation and doing regulation exercises has been monumental for me. If you’re going through something similar, it may take time to minimise your symptoms or find what works but I promise you this can get better, you don’t have to keep going on living with the severe symptoms. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Go to the doctor and try to get a diagnosis. Write down every symptom that you have and the dates where they are at their worst. 

Most of all please have empathy for yourself! From sharing my PMDD journey online, I have grown an incredible community of PMDD warriors who know what I’m going through and that has been so helpful. 

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My PMS has always been really bad, due to my endometriosis symptoms - which include cramping and bleeding even when I’m not on my period, just to name a few things! 

I always noticed that I would have drastic mood swings the week before, during, and after my period and I also noted how I could get quite anxious in the lead-up to my period. It got to the point where I was almost in despair because my emotions seemed so erratic. The anxiety and depressive thoughts were extremely overwhelming and even now it still scares me sometimes.

Then a celebrity I followed on social media started sharing about her PMDD diagnosis and she really made me think ‘This has a lot of similarities to what I’m experiencing’. Not long after my Endometriosis diagnosis I approached my doctor and explained everything to her, she agreed it was something we needed to look into. Right now, I am still on the NHS waiting list which my doctor did say would take some time, so I may go private just so I can get some answers once and for all. 

If you’re facing this, I would first say speak to a medical professional. Sometimes doctors don’t always take things seriously and if that is the case you need to advocate for yourself and get answers. Stress management is also massively important as is speaking to your family and friends about how you feel so you don’t do this journey alone. Another really important thing is not to blame yourself. Some days are easier than others so you need to be kind and patient with yourself. 

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I spent a long time believing I had PMDD but actually, I think I may have been living with PME - premenstrual exacerbation. My PMS used to severely exacerbate my obsessive-compulsive disorder. When my hormones weren't on my side, my obsessions would become 10 times more intense. My OCD largely revolved around relationships, so for years, every month,10 days before my period I would doubt my relationship to the point where the only thing that made sense to do was to end it. I would do that most months! 

One of the most important steps I took to deal with this was having therapy for OCD. However, for a long time, I didn't think there was anything else I could do to help it. Then I started working in menstrual health and found huge benefits from changing my diet, taking a few targeted supplements and having regular reflexology. Supporting my hormonal health had a huge impact on my mental health too! 

If you’re facing extreme PMS - whether that’s diagnosed as PMDD or not - just remember you are not to blame and you are still a wonderful person despite what your moods and thoughts might tell you! We live in a world where it's so normalised to be ‘moody’ before your period so we accept that there's nothing to be done. I want people to know that really simple things like getting good sleep, resting and eating well can make such a difference! 

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Dr Fatumina


Unlike PMS, which can cause mild mood changes like feeling low or anxious, PMDD amplifies these emotions significantly. For instance, with PMDD, feelings of sadness can lead to a sense of hopelessness. Anxiety associated with PMDD can escalate to the point of triggering panic attacks. PMDD can even lead to suicidal feelings. 

When I experience PMDD symptoms, I feel completely paralysed. Every negative feeling is magnified tenfold. It becomes overwhelming, making simple tasks like getting out of bed incredibly challenging. Dealing with PMDD is truly debilitating, yet many of us feel compelled to hide our struggles behind a mask, fearing societal stigma and shame. 

My advice to anyone struggling with PMDD is to use this time in your cycle as an opportunity for self-care. Incorporate regular, light physical activity into your routine. Focus on incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins into your diet to support overall health. Research also supports the benefits of certain supplements like magnesium glycinate and Agnus Castus (Chasteberry) in balancing hormones and alleviating PMDD symptoms. 

During challenging times, be kind to yourself and acknowledge your feelings. Don't hesitate to reach out for help and share your experiences with trusted family and friends. Being open about how PMDD affects you can help others understand how to support you. Remember you are not alone. 

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