Light It Up

PMDD Awareness Month - IAPMD

Light It Up

April is PMDD Awareness Month. PMDD stands for Pre Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder.  Let’s light up the world with awareness of this condition.

PMDD is a condition where hormonal changes in the body from ovulation and through the luteal (or premenstrual) phase cause distressing symptoms. These include a range of physical and mood symptoms. An estimated 5-10% of women and AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) individuals have PMDD.


The meaning of ‘dysphoria’ is a state of profound dissatisfaction. In PMDD, this dysphoria can be experienced as depression, loneliness, insomnia, anxiety, rage, and extreme irritation. 30% of individuals with PMDD will attempt suicide. The physical symptoms include bloating, sore breasts, muscle, nerve and joint pain, migraines and headaches.

Me and PMDD

I suffered from PMDD. In retrospect, I experienced symptoms from the onset of menstruation as a teenager, even though I did not receive a diagnosis until I was in my early thirties. This is a common experience of sufferers.

I tried a range of complementary and medical therapies that turned out to be a costly and time-intensive detour to finding effective treatment. Before finding out the information about this disorder, I felt more aligned with complementary therapies.  I appreciated the empathic approach of complementary practitioners.  However, I came to realise that these treatments were not working.  The lack of empathy and understanding from medical professionals also pushed me in this direction.  

I know that I, and many other people who experience PMDD, have internalised the shame and stigma around speaking up about suffering related to menstruation and hormonal changes. This caused self-doubt about whether I was ‘making it up’, even amidst a cyclic nightmare. Being ‘gas-lit’ by partners, husbands, GPs and specialists is common.

It took sustained self-advocacy to receive the treatment that helped end this nightmare for me, which was a total hysterectomy. I also suffered from adenomyosis and endometriosis, two other conditions that caused extreme pain around the hormonal changes of menstruation. To be free of these conditions in the last two years post-surgery makes me realise how alone I felt with the pain and intense mood symptoms, for so long.

So, I am motivated to light up the world with awareness of PMDD, so that others who come after me may suffer less, and receive treatment, support, and information much earlier than I did.

Check out IAPMD

IAPMD stands for the International Association of Pre Menstrual Disorders. It is a wonderful non-profit organisation that provides evidence-based information for doctors, PMDD sufferers, and those who support them. (It also includes resources for those who suffer from PME – Pre Menstrual Exacerbation of another disorder, such as major depressive disorder or generalised anxiety disorder). IAPMD has a peer support program. There are IAPMD Facebook support groups, including those for PMDD Moms (Mums) and those who are looking at the surgical treatment of a hysterectomy and oophorectomy (ovary removal). It is also building a directory of helpful experts and provides crisis intervention and education opportunities.

I am looking at ways to support IAPMD in a sustained way in the business, so watch this space.

Upward Dog is donating in April

In the meantime – 5% of profits for orders for the rest of April will be donated to IAPMD.

If you, or someone you know, suspects they may suffer from PMDD, please share the links here, or send them my way.




Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.