The end of the menstrual cycle is always a tough time for women. The hormones in the body fluctuate greatly and nearly all women suffer from at least a few of the tell tale symptoms of PMS which makes their life a misery for a week or so (and for those around them!).
If you have PMDD though, these symptoms are not just an annoyance – they become part of a living nightmare that drags on for just as long as PMS but feels like forever! If you are a women who has Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, then you need some practical PMDD help to stop this tearing you apart!
In this article I wanted to focus just on a few simple things you can do during the time of PMDD when you feel all those pressures and problems bearing down upon you. This is not long term planning, this is short term relief, but without drugs as I believe this to be detrimental to your struggle against this horrible disorder. You WILL need to change many things for the long term elimination of PMDD but if you are desperate to just make some of the symptoms stop, here is some helpful PMDD advice.
Cramping is one of the more common symptoms of PMS and PMDD that can sideline you from the god things in life. This is caused by your uterine muscles contracting to ‘reset’ your womb which ends in your period before it builds up again ready for a possible pregnancy. Most of the time you simply will not care about that – you just want your body to stop doing it so painfully! Here are some tips to ease the cramping pain.
- Heat – A water bottle with warm/hot water can help to promote blood flow in the painful area. This can help to ease pain and reduce the cramping. This is not just an old wives tale; it can help quite a bit for many women.
- Pressure – Placing some gently pressure on the area can be helpful too. It is best when it is massaged a little as well again to promote blood flow and relax muscles. using the water bottle to also apply pressure is a good combo.
- Supplements – There are a number of mineral and vitamin supplements that can help to reduce cramping. Some of the most popular are magnesium supplements (good for muscle relaxation to reduce cramps) and omega 3 fatty acid supplements (Not sure of the exact effect but many studies have shown good results).
Easing Mood Swings
The up and down roller coaster of mood swings during PMDD can be very hard to deal with. This advice is more for normalising those swings, not stopping depression or anxiety which can also come with PMDD. All of these tips will help with the more extreme ends but I am focussing more on the swings than the extremities of moods that can occur. This sort of moodiness is most often caused by fluctuations of serotonin levels. Serotonin is the hormone in your body that helps keep you up and happy most of the time. When you are approaching your period though – your levels of estrogens and progesterone are all over the place and those other two hormones are intrinsically linked to serotonin. So if you have the impression of a hormonal train wreck then you are totally correct. You will need some good PMDD help to alleviate this.
- Natural Progesterone – Progesterone is the sister hormone to estrogen which is the more well known female hormone. Both are needed for proper menstrual functioning. Many women with PMDD and PMS have an estrogen dominance in the weeks leading up to their period. This leads to many of the symptoms of PMDD including depression and other mood related disorders. Natural progesterone supplements can help to restore this balance.
- Hydration – The value of avoiding dehydrated cannot be emphasised enough. Even a slight case of dehydration can drastically alter your mood. Think back to when you were not suffering from PMDD but when you felt thirsty, or had been sweating a lot. You probably felt a little sick, were less tolerant, was more easily upset. When your body loses too much water is can have a knock on effect on your moods – and yet this is the easiest thing to cure – drink more water! Do not drown yourself though – too much water can lead to evacuating too many minerals and vitamins through urination. Just make sure you drink enough throughout the day.
- Frequent Meals & Carbohydrates – Many of us trying to watch our figure have actually put into place some bad eating habits. One problem is some women tend to skip meals due to lack of appetite when PMDDing, or due to wanting to lower the amount of food we are eating generally. This causes them to overeat later, creating a rollercoaster ride for the blood sugar levels which will make your moods go crazy. The other problem is many women start eating less carbs due to the phenomenally misguided low-carb craze. Low carb diets cause low moods because they stop the brain regulating serotonin (a good mood hormone) in the brain. We need carbs to be mentally balanced women!
Curing PMDD Sleep Problems
Too much sleep, too little sleep, interrupted sleep – all of these things will reduce your body’s capability to manage your moods and your physical well being. This is not something we do not already know – but when you are suffering from PMDD being able to create a better sleeping patter will give you massive boosts to your mental and physical well being very quickly. The problem is that the condition makers it difficult to sleep properly in a catch 22 arrangement seemingly designed to frustrate us!
Here is some practical help for PMDD related sleep problems:
- Keep Good Sleep Hygiene -A funny term sleep hygiene, but what it means is the collection of habits you take to get a good nights sleep. There are a few things that you should do all the time such as turn off all lights in the room, no flashing lights from electronics, curtains drawn, minimal noise etc. You need a place that is dark and silent and free of all distractions to promote deeper sleep. If you have a partner you sleep with then also try not to have a situation where their habits interfere with your sleep such as snoring, or waking you up due to movement or getting up in the night. You can also take further steps such as making sure your pillows are washed frequently, that you sleep with a fresh towel over the pillow, and definitely do not take drugs before you sleep unless you absolutely have to!
- Keep a Bedtime -This is apart of sleep hygiene but i think deserves its own point. While we are all adults (or most of us, hello to any minors who might be suffering PMDD as well – don’t worry it can get better!) and can determine when we want to sleep, having a bedtime you keep is very important. You need to adhere to your bodies internal clock when you feel sleepy you go to sleep – but also keeping a bedtime will help to adjust that clock to become at one with this time you feel is optimal for sleep.
- Know Your Sleep Cycle – Most people have 4 hour sleep cycles, so in a night we actually cycle through 2 of them. It also explains how you can wake up feeling a bit drowsy but not too tired early in the morning which is when the sleep ccyle is ending and we are only lightly drowsing. However some people have shorter or longer cycles. I find mine is about 3 to 3.5 hours so i feel more refreshed after 7 hours sleep or closer to 9 sometimes! Keep an eye on how long you sleep and how refreshed and wakeful you feel at each point so you know when to set alarms. Eventually you will train your body to not even need an alarm!
I hope this PMDD help has been useful to you and helps you do some immediate action to reduce PMDD.
For more information check out the PMDD Treatment Miracle, it goes into a lot more depth on many of these things and more!