If you are one of the millions of women who grapple with PMDD (Pre-Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder), the days leading up to your menstrual cycle can feel like an emotional abyss. PMDD is not just about facing PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) with a bit more intensity. It’s a severe, debilitating variant that impacts your mental health, family, and work-life.

Does this sound familiar?

You struggle all month long with PMS that it’s become normal to you. Many doctors will argue it’s so common for women to struggle with PMS that it’s NORMAL. I tend to disagree (shocking! I know! ha!) If your PMS symptoms hang around longer than a week, you might not have PMS at all and it might be: PMDD.

What is PMDD?

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is characterized by all of the symptoms of PMS alongside INTENSE mood changes that directly impact your ability to live life. For instance, the symptoms are so bad in addition to depression and anxiety that you can’t get out of bed. I can remember so clearly many moons ago, being sidelined for three days per month with lingering symptoms all month long. No one mentioned PMDD to me or Hormone Imbalances.

PMDD’s enigma lies in the fact that it shares some symptoms with severe forms of depression and anxiety, such as suicidal thoughts, mood swings, and panic attacks. Yet, it is tied to the menstrual cycle’s luteal phase, and symptoms must virtually disappear after the onset of menses.

What can you do?

While I believe working with someone in functional medicine will provide you with the clearest direction on how to determine your unique root cause, until it’s the right time for you, try managing your Blood Sugar. PMS, PMDD (and even PCOS) are hugely affected by dysregulated Blood Sugar and Insulin Resistance. A quick hit list of things to get consistent with right now:

  1. Eat breakfast!
  2. Eat a protein + fat + fiber combo for meals and snacks throughout the day
  3. Walk after dinner

Magnesium’s Impact on PMDD

Recent studies have highlighted the potential of magnesium. This essential mineral might just be a game-changer for women with PMDD. Magnesium has compelling effects on neurotransmitters. Low magnesium levels can exacerbate symptoms related to depression, anxiety, and migraines. Magnesium is involved in the synthesis of serotonin, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, which regulates mood and sleep. In a preliminary study, participants with low magnesium levels who received magnesium supplements reported a notable decrease in premenstrual symptom severity, particularly mood-related symptoms.

You can increase magnesium in the body through dietary sources such as nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains. If dietary adjustments don’t provide enough magnesium, supplements are an option, but it’s important to consult a healthcare provider first.

Omega-3’s Role in PMDD

The role of inflammation in PMDD is something else to consider. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and flaxseed oil, have anti-inflammatory properties that have been found to reduce symptoms in some women with PMDD. In a study, women who took omega-3 supplements for six months experienced significantly less depression-anxiety, and markedly reduced overall severity of premenstrual symptoms. The modern diet tilts the balance too far in favor of omega-6 fatty acids, which are pro-inflammatory. To benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties, it may be necessary to consciously increase consumption of foods high in omega-3s—a shift towards more fish, walnuts, and chia seeds for example.

Remember, every woman is different. What works for one may not work for another. Don’t forget to explore more of my blog posts and reach out if you have any questions.

The information provided in this blog post is for informational purposes only. The information is a result of years of practice and experience by Dr. Francesca LeBlanc. However, this information is NOT intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician. Do not use the information provided in this post for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. Please, do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website.