Author Joni Brown
December is a time to be festive and jolly! However, sometimes anxiety, schedule changes, and all-around mood swings can be amplified during this time of the year. What better time to talk about the one and only grand champion for mood disruptions… PMS.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is characterized by a blend of physical and emotional symptoms commonly encountered by many women in the days preceding their menstrual period. Typical symptoms encompass mood swings, irritability, bloating, and fatigue.
When you add PCDH19 epilepsy, autism, or any neurological issue to PMS, that is a level up of behaviors. This special type of symptom has its own entire class known as severe premenstrual symptoms, exceeding the usual scope of PMS, and is called "Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder" (PMDD). PMDD represents an intense manifestation of premenstrual syndrome, marked by significant mood disturbances and other symptoms that can disrupt daily life. It stands as a more severe and incapacitating condition compared to standard PMS.
My 20-year-old daughter, Allie, has lived with this since her first period at age 13. We did not understand it. As her caregiver, I was at a loss. Some months we wouldn’t see any mood swings, while other months were awful for us, for her. The mood swings and irritability were one thing. Another symptom she experiences is complete irrational thoughts. She would say mean things to people around her that were simply uncalled for. For example, 'Peaches (our dog), you are so much nicer than mom.' Or her teacher called one day, 'Hello, Ms. Brown, is everything okay at home? Allie was very irritable today and said mean words, very unlike the usual Allie.'
We have tried natural supplements over the years, such as calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, omega-3 fatty acids like fish oil, and evening primrose oil. Some have helped, I think. She still experiences moodiness. But, don’t we all? We met and discussed this more in-depth with a gynecologist. She sat down with Allie and me and discussed options, from menstrual suppression options to vitamins that may be helpful in reducing PMS symptoms and talk therapy.
As I write, we are still in the decision-making process but are close to trying something new. The bottom line is to get a better quality of life for Allie, as always.