I am writing this post in particular for new mothers, though it may certainly help others. You see, after birth we hear many times about the dangers of postpartum depression, but it is less common to hear about potential changes in menstruation once your period returns, including the possible development of PMDD. Before I developed PMDD, my knowledge was limited to a brief blurb on a birth control commercial.
So what is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder? Basically, it is a very severe form of PMS that can cause depression, extreme mood swings, unexplained anger, and sleep problems, (among others). For a full list, check on this article on WebMD. It is actually somewhat similar to depression, but PMDD only occurs about a week or so before your period and then goes away. It is so extreme that you can't help but notice it. Probably anyone within a ten mile radius will notice it.
According to my doctor, PMDD can get worse if untreated, and I believe it. This started to develop for me not long after my period came back, but it wasn't so bad at first. Then over the last three months, it has started to build in intensity. It is noticeable and unavoidable. About a week and a half before my period, I wake up despondently depressed. It doesn't matter if the previous day was the Best Day Ever followed by a night of Blissful Sleep. Suddenly, I have all of the symptoms listed above--actually, almost all of the symptoms listed on the website. I go from exercising and eating healthy food to not wanting to get out of bed and wanting only junk food. I want all of the chocolate in the world.
The worst is the arguing. My husband and I start arguing constantly and for no definable reason. Like a compulsion I can't stop, I find myself snapping at everything. I get furious for no reason. It seems like I will never feel like myself again.
Then I have my period, and I go back to normal.
Why am I writing this particularly for new mothers? Because before I had my daughter, I didn't have PMDD. I had pretty typical PMS, but no sign of anything like this. I have since learned that your cycles can completely change after birth; I had known that some changes could happen, but I had never expected anything so extreme.
Be on the lookout, ladies! If you start feeling like this, go to your doctor. No one should suffer through PMDD when there are treatment options available.