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PMDD can be masked as Bipolar

Updated on February 7, 2014

I was diagnosed bipolar at age 16, and later found out, after being off of lithium- the drug given for it, at the time- that my mood fluctuations have everything to do with my period. This is not to say I don't have bipolar- I'll leave that to a doctor to decide, if I get evaluated again someday. What I want to share though, is that this disorder, Pmdd, is definitely real and very difficult.

My experience is that it makes an ordinary menstrual cycle much worse, and the symptoms can be extremely disruptive causing extreme irritability and depression as well as physical symptoms such as long periods, that can last seven days, and also physical discomfort.

I do feel I have self control over myself and my emotions, but it is a very heavy 'cross' to carry, so I, again, am seeking out medical help.

I have made an appointment with my doctor to be seen and hopefully get some kind of remedy. I did watch a very helpful video- it was helpful in the fact that it gave me hope, that I could get help for this affliction, that there are doctors who can and will treat it. I will show this video below. I am definitely no expert, but I know the symptoms I have listed above that I've experienced and they are not fun. I hope this helps someone else, discover that they may have pmdd, and seek help like I am.

I did try Effexor which is an antidepressant which worked well for me, but it led to memory issues, as in I became very forgetful and felt like I was getting Alzheimers. It could be very valuable knowledge to you, for me to tell you, that Effexor can have this side effect and to seek natural remedies, if you can. I certainly am not "cured" yet, but I believe it is possible to find and use a better method of coping, up to and including diet and exercise. I do know limiting caffeine is important for one and cutting down on sugar intake. The human body is a very sensitive thing, is it not? Thanks for watching the video and your comments are very welcome.


Let's compare the symptoms of Pmdd and bipolar

I feel this is very important, as that it is a fact that my diagnosis came from a doctor who still doesn't know what pmdd is and he clearly is ignorant and this illness of women should be more well known and recognized!!!

Pmdd symptoms

  • fatigue,
  • mood changes
  • abdominal bloating
  • breast tenderness
  • headache
  • irritability,
  • depression,
  • increased appetite,
  • acne,
  • over sensitivity to environmental stimuli,
  • hot flashes,
  • heart palpitations,
  • easy crying,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • dizziness,
  • sleeplessness,
  • forgetfulness, and
  • gastrointestinal (stomach, bowel) upset.

PMDD symptoms are related to the menstrual cycle, typically occurring in the second half (luteal phase) of the cycle, and resolving within the first few days after the menstrual period has begun.


Bipolar symptoms

Now, this is interesting. This is the first time I actually found anything online that said bipolar and pmdd could be connected. It's ironic I just found this now. But read on...

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder with distinct periods of extreme euphoria (mania) and sadness or hopelessness (depression). It's also known as manic depression or manic depressive disorder.

Bipolar disorder occurs with similar frequency in men and women. But there are some differences between the sexes in the way the condition is experienced.

For example, a woman is likely to have more symptoms of depression than mania. And female hormones and reproductive factors may influence the condition and its treatment.

Research suggests that in women, hormones may play a role in the development and severity of bipolar disorder. One study suggests that late-onset bipolar disorder may be associated with menopause. Among women who have the disorder, almost one in five reported severe emotional disturbances during the transition into menopause.

Studies have looked at the association between bipolar disorder and premenstrual symptoms. These studies suggest that women with mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, experience more severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome(PMS).

Other research has shown that women whose disorders are treated appropriately actually have less fluctuation in mood over the course of the menstrual cycle.

The greatest evidence of a hormonal association with bipolar disorder is found during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Women with bipolar disorder who are pregnant or have recently given birth are seven times more likely than other women to be admitted to the hospital for their bipolar disorder. And they are twice as likely to have a recurrence of symptoms.



I have never experienced euphoria to any extreme that I've heard other people tell me, except for small degrees but mostly while I was on lithium. I feel that my manic episodes are really just anger/irritability which is considered now to be Bipolar Depression as a "label". But never let anyone label you, cause you just never know! You have to seek help and keep going so to speak because you can. At least I have in some ways.

But these periods of depression I have could be in fact pmdd or both bipolar and pmdd though I am still reluctant to agree I'm having bipolar because I can see now clearly how much pmdd is disrupting my life, now that I'm off lithium. So, I beg to differ and not to just take anyone's opinion especially since doctors have not been paying attention to my Pmdd as well as they could have. I have yet to have been successfully treated for pmdd. I am still seeking a cure or remedy.

Meanwhile, honestly, meditation really helps! Thanks for reading. I hope this helps someone and also maybe you have some helpful feedback for me which would be much appreciated!



Update on Treatment 2/7/14

I was taking a small dose of the antidepressant Effexor for about six months which worked very well, until a side effect made me unable to take it anymore. A friend just suggested a different antidepressant (in the same family- basically almost the same thing/drug but without that side effect of memory disruption...Wellbutrin.) I'm not a doctor, and I am not telling you what to do if you have pmdd, but in my situation, I had to figure all of this out on my own.

I just left my doctor a message about the Wellbutrin. I did not get manic on Effexor at all. So I will definitely try Wellbutrin....for the wicked depression I get during two weeks out of the month which makes my life hellish.

I believe I will have success, as I just looked up Wellbutrin and I see no side effects of memory problems.


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    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Rise, I think it is great that you are taking control. You are your best advocate! Good luck! I hope the docs too be able to find the right you're if needs that will be able to help you feel better and still think clearly. Thank you fire sharing!

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks btrbell,

      Nice to hear/see you :)

      It's really important that this be more well known.

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Oops. Just saw that I called you Rise. I am so sorry! It is good to see you as well, Rose! :-)

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA

      No problem, lol. I don't get mad easy. :)

      Oh now that sounds strange doesn't it?! But I wasn't upset in the least!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 3 years ago from Minnesota

      Thanks very much for sharing your experience with the whole bi-polar and PMDD connection. So glad to hear that your gaining such insight into the matter and taking action.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago from USA

      It's not easy, MT, but I'm trying!

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting :) !

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