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Anyone have experience/advice with PMDD?

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I feel like an idiot for never noticing it correlated with my cycle, but this year I've started having monthly bouts of anxiety/depression/despair that leave me bedridden and sobbing for 48-72 hours. I am shaking, confused, and almost hysterical. I've also had bouts of vertigo that started this past spring--again, the week before my period, but usually after the anxiety. This is NOT normal for me, and it was only last month that I realized I could go back through the year and that each time I had a "meltdown" was exactly 6 days before my period. Duh!


I've always been fairly laissez-faire about tracking my cycle so I just never connected the two. Now I have my iPhone (yes, there's an app for that) and looking over my calendar it is so obvious. I've never even had "PMS" type symptoms before this year, so this is new to me. I'll be 40 next month.


What should I do? I can't work, can't teach, can't do anything when I'm overwhelmed with this fear and sadness. I've had to cancel meetings, call in sick, let my dh do everything while I collapse. Even calling to change plans overwhelms me. I don't know how to explain my behavior to my friends and folks at church. Then, 2 days later--tonight, in fact--I'm better. Back to normal and jump into all the stuff that's piled up for several days. But it's scary bad. I'm already dreading next month! Someone tell me this can get better? What can I try? I'm pretty willing to do almost anything at this point.

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Hi Kay,

When I started to have a lot of trouble with perimenopause, borage oil completely saved me. It's a nutrient, not a drug, so I always felt really comfortable taking it.


A friend who has really bad PMS recommended it. I started with 1000mg in the morning and evening starting with day 14 of the cycle, and continuing until the next day 1. Then when I saw how well it worked, I backed off the dosage successfully so that I could take it 'as needed'. I found that when I started to get unreasonable, I could take it and it would help very quickly, and I would then continue until the next day 1. Sometimes I would up the dose a bit for the last day or two--I had the worse trouble the day before my period, so that was when I would sometimes need 4 capsules in a day instead of 2.


Honestly, the difference was so dramatic that I can't begin to describe it. It's definitely worth a try. However, I remember recommending it sometimes before on the board here, and at least one person came back and said that it did nothing for her, so the effects do vary.


Before trying this I consulted my doctor and she said that they take a step ladder approach--first exercise and giving up caffeine, and then BCP's, and then anti-depressants--apparently those help considerably with this although no one knows why. I did not want to try any of those options, so I'm glad that this herbal remedy worked so well for me. I was pleasantly surprised that she did not recommend HRT--it was just starting to be questioned hard at that point, and she was right on with that research.


I am positive that exercise would not have been sufficient for me, and I would have been reluctant to take BCP's past age 40, so if the borage oil had not worked I would probably have visited a naturopath for more herbal stuff, and then maybe tried anti-depressants.


I wish you more peacefulness. It is so great that you figured this out. I remember when I recognized my own 'correlation'--it was a blinding glimpse of the obvious, for sure.

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(((Kay))) I know a lady who has been battling this for over 13 long years. Her list of symptoms keeps growing, too, including fear of driving (it's been 5 years since she drove) and insomnia along with crippling panic attacks and everything you've listed. She has tried many things and been to many doctors and specialists, but so far as I know, diet has given the best help. It seems that her body has changed enough to develop new sensitivities. If you're really feeling stuck and need to talk, please PM me and I'll email her and see if you can contact her. She found it very difficult to find support, there's not a lot out there, and in fact she has yet to find someone who has experienced exactly what she has. You two could possibly learn from each other if it really is that rare. :grouphug:

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I would suggest that you get your hormone levels checked. Even if you want to take a natural non-drug approach you need to know what you are trying to fix.


I had similar problems last year (but not to that extent) and I assumed it was perimenopause, but testing revealled that those hormones were still fine but I had problems with my thyroid and diabetes. It would have been a waste of time me taking supplements for perimenopause because that wasn't my problem.

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I generally take prozac for this to level me out. I RAGE and I mean throw the cordless phone across the room because it rang during DS's nap rage. When I take it I just go with the flow. No excess of emotions. It is quite nice actually. I can't imagine what you are going through but I am interested in what others have to say about more natural remedies.:lurk5:

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Thank you for all your responses! Today I was back at work, in the full swing of things at home... it really is amazing how I am "back to normal" so fast. Now to get ready for next month...


Carol: I'm definitely going to check out the Borage oil. I still need to get in to see my doctor now that I've realized what is going on (duh!), but that sounds like something I could do right away. Also cutting out caffeine would be pretty easy--I don't drink that much soda or coffee, so I can just avoid it altogether for a while and see if that helps.


Karyn: I'll pm you. I haven't found that much online other than general info, so I'd be interested to hear from someone who has had some experience with this.


Carole: I don't think I've had my hormone levels checked at all, so I'll be sure to mention that when I go see my doc. She will want to do bloodwork, I know... and thyroid is probably a good thing to check.


Kristen: I'm pretty willing to take whatever will work! At this point I just want to reclaim those days of the month. I'll ask my doctor about meds as well.


Thank you thank you! It really was helpful to write this down and share it here. The only person who really knows what has been happening is my dh, and he has been great. He doesn't have that feminine insight and advice, though. I know that he'll have less to worry about if I can get this under control.


Any other advice would be greatly appreciated!



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You might find, now that you know about the timing, that you can manage some of it and plan ahead. For example, if you know it is coming up, you won't volunteer to bake 47 cookies in the shape of the Alamo for co-op, KWIM? When you feel the emotions, you will also know that they are temporary, and that may help keep them in check. I'm not suggesting that knowledge alone is a miracle cure, but it might help to keep things manageable until you can figure out some remedies.


I also suggest exercise, fresh air, vegetables, limiting caffeine, and getting as much sleep as your body is telling you it wants.


And I second the advice to get a general, all-around check-up.

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I was diagnosed w/PMDD while I was being treated for depression :D The therapy I used then was a light box. It worked to treat the depression, and it helps to keep me 'up' in general.


But I also take extra calcium and evening primrose oil (similar nutrient to the borage oil of which a pp spoke). They help level things out. I usually still have a couple of days where I'm trying to hold it together, but there are a only a few moments when I lose it entirely.:001_smile::001_smile:


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