I almost leapt out of my seat today when I read the headlines from womenshealth.gov, “Severe PMS May Last Longer Than Thought.” The article goes on to say that researchers found out that severe PMS symptoms, or PMDD symptoms, can last up to 3 days into menstruation! Anyone who has severe PMS or PMDD could already tell you that, but I am so glad that the medical community has finally recognized it!
When I first started my journey with PMDD I was, like many PMDD-sufferers, misdiagnosed as being bipolar. When I finally went to my gynecologist for the severe cramping that I was experiencing with my periods, we began chatting further about other symptoms. I mentioned I was diagnosed as bipolar, and she asked me to start charting my mood “highs” and “lows”. Lo and behold, these ups and downs that my psychiatrist was calling “manic behavior related to bipolar” were occurring the same time *each* month. With the lows, of course, being right before my period. My gynecologist told me that I had PMDD and I happily stopped the 5 anti-psychotic, anti-anxiety, depression and sleeping pills that my psychiatrist had me on. Five years and no prescription drugs later, I am happily managing my PMDD naturally.
Convincing my general physician of this new diagnosis was a totally different story. I explained everything from my gynecologist, but she was still adamant that I was bipolar. I explained how the gynecologist said that this was a common misdiagnosis and went on to tell her about the similarities of the symptoms. She asked me how long into my period the symptoms lasted and I told her a few days after my period started. With this she exclaimed, “Well then it can’t be period-related, period-related symptoms stop the first day that your period starts!”
I remember at the time I was appalled at this assertion. It seemed to me that this was a gross generalization, and said with such certainty. Logic told me that this could be an absolute for every woman, everywhere, ever. That just does not make sense. Further, now that I was aware of my body’s schedule, I knew it was period-related.
This article is a huge vindication for those afflicted with PMDD. It is also a stark reminder to follow your gut, know your body and to question *everything* you are told by the medical community. They may be great for a lot of things, but ultimately, this is your health and you know your body better than anyone. Don’t let a doctor with a narrow view of medicine and healing dictate how you manage it.