Explains what PMDD is and explores issues around getting a diagnosis. Also provides information on self care and treatment options, and how friends and family can help.
To get a diagnosis of PMDD the best place to start is by visiting your doctor. To help them understand your symptoms your doctor may:
When you're asked to keep a record of your symptoms over several months, getting a diagnosis can feel like a very slow process. This can be frustrating if you're having to wait a long time to access treatment. (Our page on self-care for PMDD has some ideas you can try in the meantime).
Some people find getting a diagnosis of PMDD can be really difficult. This might be because it can take a long time to realise that your symptoms follow a cycle and that they are linked to your period. It can also be because PMDD is not very well known, even amongst health professionals. It can be really upsetting and frustrating if you feel like your doctor is overlooking something, or not taking you seriously – but there are things you could try:
"When the suicidal feelings became unbearable, I realised I had to take action. I decided I had to explain it properly to the doctor as my life depended on it, so I brought my mum with me and told the whole story. I got referred to a gynaecologist and now I am under hormonal treatment, my symptoms are much better."
"I saw five different (male) GPs at my medical practice before they accepted my suggestion that my problems were connected to my cycle and I eventually came away with a factsheet about ‘PMS’ in my hand... It wasn’t until [recently] that I actually sat in front of a doctor who didn’t look at me as if I was mad when I said that my menstrual cycle was driving me insane."
This information was published in September 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
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