Signs your PMS might be something more

We all know what PMS is. It’s the butt of jokes and the bane of many women’s’ existence. But sometimes PMS isn’t really PMS at all.

It’s those typical symptoms that women can sometimes get before their period. We all know, the mood swings, the cravings, the bloating! For some women it can be on the mild side, with slight cramps and an indulgence or two in ice cream, or nothing at all(lucky!) For some, it’s on the other end and they may experience debilitating stomach pains, bloating, breast tenderness, nausea, bowel changes, a whole list of very not fun stuff. I think most women who do experience PMS probably fall in the middle. I know I did. I’d be moody for a few days, like any typical teenager, bloat a bit, crave some ice cream and my breasts would ache a bit. Despite the hope though, it never meant they were growing. Dang it. 

But as I got older, things changed. I’m not sure when it started but there were such severe symptoms that I kept thinking I was pregnant over and over again. After months of torture of am I or am I not, my husband and I agreed that there was something wrong. The poor guy looked braced for an explosion at all times and he could barely look me in the face anymore. I started looking into it and one day I found a video about PMDD(Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder). It listed off 11 major symptoms that can accompany PMDD, and if you’ve got 5 or more, you’ve got it. I checked off all 11 easily.

But… how? How could I be suffering from a disorder this debilitating when I didn’t even know it existed? I felt betrayed, like this was something that should have been mentioned in health class along with PMS. “Sorry girls, PMS is a thing, but it can be worse!” A heads up would have been nice. But when I started talking about it, I discovered that most of the people around me hadn’t ever heard of it either, and that’s including a few doctors.

Woman Suffering From Depression Sitting On Bed And Crying

So, how do you know when your PMS isn’t just PMS anymore? The best thing would be to start tracking your symptoms, and pay attention to these things:

  • Increase in appetite
  • Food cravings
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Joint/muscle pain
  • Mood swings
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty concentrating(brain fog)
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Random bouts of crying
  • Feeling out of control
  • Rage/Extreme Irritability
  • Feeling disconnected with your life
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Less interest in relationships/hobbies
  • Depression
  • Feeling numb
  • Suicidal thoughts/tendencies
  • Symptoms severe enough to interfere with life/work

If you need a good monthly tracker, I highly recommend the new one from ME vs PMDD. It’s free and created specifically for us who struggle with PMDD. You can also check out the C-PASS scoring system to check off whatever applies to you. I included a few more things here than are mentioned in the 5-DSM, but things that those suffering may also struggle with.

If you think that you may have PMDD, check out Gia Allemand Foundation to learn more and find resources for help. My recommendation would be to find a gynecological specialist who specializes in PMDD, a psychiatrist who specializes in women’s health, or a psychologist specializing in women’s health. Ask if the doctor is experienced in treating PMDD before booking an appointment. And be warned, they aren’t that easy to find.

Read about my bad experience with a “specialist” here.

But most importantly, if you think you might be struggling with this, know that you are not alone. What you’re feeling is real and valid and not your fault, and there is help out there. There are diets and herbs and medications that can help, even surgeries to try if you exhaust all other options. But better, there are some amazing women around to talk to. They can be found on Facebook and Twitter, ready and willing to answer any questions or commiserate with you. We may be suffering from something horrible but we are worth the effort and we will thrive.

Click here for more resources and to connect to women fighting this together.

6 thoughts on “Signs your PMS might be something more

  1. I am glad you are posting about this. It is really important and so many women do not talk enough about these issues. I hope you are doing well. Thank you for sharing. I know it could not have been easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not yet unfortunately. Many doctors dont know anything about it. And even ones who do, most don’t take it seriously. But since I don’t have a cycle while I’m pregnant, I’m getting a break from it. I’m hoping that continues through breastfeeding! But I’ll have to tackle that monster again one day soon enough. If nothing else works, I’ll probably end up having a full hysterectomy to help alleviate symptoms


  3. I’ve never heard of PMDD! Did these symptoms happen only when you were on your period or all the time? I’m so glad you figured out the problem!


    1. It can start anywhere from a few days to weeks leading up to your period. For me it’s usually about two full weeks, then when my period shows up, it all goes away and I’m me again. That’s why its so debilitating. That means two weeks of hell, a week on my period and one remaining week of normal left for the month.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Not quite. Too many doctors don’t know anything about PMDD. So far I haven’t found any. I just do what I can on my own for now.


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