Contributed by Danielle Bosley
If you find yourself struggling to stay focused and energized each month when Aunt Flow arrives, you’re not alone. For a lot of women, the societal stigma against periods and all things related to them makes it hard to talk about. In fact, many ladies who battle these issues suffer in silence for years. Many assume they must be clinically insane or suffering from some form of mental illness, so they don’t speak up.
Unfortunately, it is that very lack of talking about PMS and PMDD that keeps people in the dark about what they’re going through, and further away from potential treatment and a better life. If you or someone you love struggles with severe premenstrual symptoms, we want you to know that it’s not your fault, and you can get better. With the proper knowledge, you should feel encouraged to talk about this, empowered to have recognized it, and prepared to handle it.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) are two separate conditions that affect women in different ways. Either condition can develop at any point in a woman’s life, but PMS can spring into action without warning while PMDD typically develops following some kind of hormonal catalyst, such as a pregnancy, tubal ligation or the onset of menses.
PMS affects around 75 percent of all menstruating women, with PMDD affecting fewer women. It is estimated that 2 to 10 percent of females of reproductive age are affected, but the truth is we are still uncovering just how many women suffer with this disorder. While PMS might make for a bad day of cramps and bloating, PMDD can actually warrant the need for having three or four different clothing sizes on hand. The bloating is extreme, but most with PMDD would agree the physical symptoms aren’t the most difficult aspect of this disorder.