By Valerie Rice | February 2, 2021
Women. Let us be candid with one another. I know we all hate how our hormones are used to denigrate us. I know we hate being referred to as emotional wrecks and unstable elements because of PMS. Well, I see you. Modern gynecology is from a male perspective. In fact, they just discovered the actual shape and structure of the clitoris last year. Pathetic, isn’t it. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) for us, there is one (just one) mental health condition that is actually attributable to our cycles. PMDD or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. And it is pretty rare.
This disorder looks a lot like PMS because of symptom overlap. The difference is in the severity and timing. A woman with PMDD will have severe anxiety, depression, and irritability starting 2 weeks before her expected period that ends on the second or third day of bleeding. Oh great, like half a month? Yep. PMDD in a violent (literally) mood swing that encapsulates the whole month. PMS is just a few days of super sucks. Unlike PMS, PMDD is going to require medical intervention. As in medication. The reason this falls under mental health is because we are going for a holistic approach. So let’s look at treatment options.
Well, well, well. We actually have options here. You can see your primary care, your OB/GYN, or your psych. Dealer’s choice. To my Melanated sisters, be loud. White doctors are to Black women as cops are to Black men. Click here for more information. PLEASE advocate, ask for documentation if refused treatment, and get another opinion if necessary. The number one treatment is an SSRI, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications. Click here for a brief overview of psych meds. This is great, right? Take a pill and get all better! Um. No. You might also want to get some hormonal birth control as well simply because we already KNOW it is not all in your head. Treating the symptoms is great, let’s also address hormones, and make sure your doc knows what’s up. I’m not a gyno, but the combination treatment has been shown to be pretty effective in conjunction with…
You knew it was coming. I always advocate for a therapy of some sort. Look, talking isn’t going to cure your hormones, but it IS going to help you cope with mood swings and life in general. Holistic approach, remember? I bet you have some drama or problems that arise from a monthly rollercoaster. Let’s talk about it, problem solv, etc. I really wish people were less afraid of mental health care. It doesn’t have to be just talk therapy, even if it is your insurance company’s favorite variety. Find someone into art therapy, music, whatever floats your boat and give it a whirl. If it doesn’t work for you you can find another provider or method. Click here for local resources.
Alright. So we know we are strong, rational, independent people. We also know that our bodies can betray us and our hormones suck. Like, totally SUCK. If you think this may be a problem you could be experiencing, or someone you love, let’s support each other and get help. Because it is 2021 and I, for one, am sick and tired of being referred to as an overly emotional female. I am also tired of all my health problems being seen as a weight or period problem. Let’s grab control of our reproductive health and stand up to stereotypes in the name of heath. Until next time, Be Well!