Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is often described as a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that can have a significant emotional and physical impact on women. PMDD affects up to 8% of women during their reproductive years and is characterised by severe mood swings, anxiety, irritability, and physical symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, and headaches. In this blog post, we’ll explore PMDD in more detail, including its emotional impact, causes, and Ayurvedic treatments.

Emotional Impact of PMDD

PMDD can have a significant emotional impact on women, making it difficult to manage day-to-day activities and relationships. Many women with PMDD experience feelings of hopelessness, irritability, and anxiety, which can lead to a decrease in self-esteem and affect their quality of life. These emotional symptoms can also impact relationships with family and friends, causing conflict and misunderstanding

Causes of PMDD

The exact cause of PMDD is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a heightened sensitivity to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle. Specifically, PMDD is thought to be caused by a sensitivity to the hormone progesterone, which can cause changes in mood and other symptoms. PMDD is not necessarily a hormonal imbalance, but rather a sensitivity to the ‘normal’ fluctuation of hormones, however, PMDD can co-exist with hormonal imbalances. Other factors that may contribute to the development of PMDD include genetic predisposition, stress, and underlying mental health conditions.

Ayurvedic Treatment for PMDD

Ayurveda is a traditional system of medicine that originated in India over 5,000 years ago. It offers a holistic approach to health and wellness and can be particularly helpful in managing conditions like PMDD. Some Ayurvedic treatments that may be helpful for PMDD include:

  • Herbal remedies: Certain herbs, such as ashwagandha, Shatavari, and Brahmi, can help to balance hormones and reduce symptoms of PMDD. These herbs are known to have a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing feelings of anxiety and irritability. Always speak with a practitioner before taking any herbal medicines as taking the wrong ones for your individual constitution can be counter-productive and in some cases harmful.
  • Diet and lifestyle changes: Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and practising stress-reducing techniques like yoga and meditation can all be helpful in managing PMDD symptoms. Women with PMDD may also benefit from avoiding certain foods that can exacerbate symptoms, such as caffeine and sugar.
  • Panchakarma/Ayurvedic Cleanse: Panchakarma is a cleansing and rejuvenating treatment that is often used in Ayurveda to promote overall health and wellness. It may be helpful in managing PMDD symptoms by helping to balance hormones and reduce stress.
  • Ayurvedic Psychology: Addressing deep-seated belief systems and subconscious conditioning as well as addressing all aspects of the mind. PMDD can severely affect one’s mood, memory and emotional reactions to certain situations. Women who suffer from PMDD often feel “out of control” with their reactions and can feel an immense sense of guilt once the phase has passed. The emotional and behavioural aspects of PMDD can affect relationships and self-esteem. Ayurveda takes a psychosocial approach to help identify triggers, why they are triggers & how to respond when those mental triggers are activated. This takes neural pathway regulation and central nervous system toning. Ayurveda Psychology helps Women heal from an empowered state and take control of their health & well-being. 
  • Dosha-specific treatments: In Ayurveda, PMDD is thought to be related to an imbalance in the doshas, or the three fundamental energies that govern the body and mind. Women with PMDD may benefit from dosha-specific treatments that address the underlying imbalance. For example, women with a Vata imbalance may benefit from warm, nourishing foods and oil massages, while women with a Pitta imbalance may benefit from cooling, soothing foods and massages. Women with a high Vata constitution may experience heightened levels of anxiety and bloating with their PMDD symptoms. Women with a high Pitta constitution may experience aggressive moods, irritability and hot sensations. Women with a high Kapha constitution may experience fluid retention, depressive moods and deep sadness. It is common to experience all of these symptoms within one cycle for women suffering from PMDD, hence Ayurveda takes a tri-doshic & holistic approach to healing. 

In conclusion, PMDD is a challenging condition that can have a significant emotional and physical impact on women. However, with the right treatment approach, it is possible to manage symptoms and improve overall health and wellness. By incorporating Ayurvedic treatments like herbal remedies, diet and lifestyle changes, panchakarma, and dosha-specific treatments, women with PMDD can find relief and enjoy a better quality of life. It’s important to work with a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the unique needs of each individual.

We take a holistic approach when treating Women with PMDD and implement the higHERself™ framework that addresses all aspects of oneself, health & healing.

If you would like support with PMDD or managing your hormones, our 90-day program ‘The Hormone Solution’ may be right for you.

Harmony Robinson-Stagg

(Ayurveda & Women’s Health Practitioner)

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