Supersized PMT

mr bear british shorthair

PMT has now become a major event in my life every month; for the entire week before my period I really struggle to get anything done at all. I’m confused, fuzzy and I just want to sleep. In PMT week I don’t want to speak at all, I want everyone to go away and leave me alone in a semi-darkened room so that I can variously scroll through The Outnet for things I’ll never buy, Whatsapp my insecurities to people who don’t want to listen and quietly and internally hate on anyone who is posting holiday pictures on Instagram. (Although only if they’re on a beach holiday. I couldn’t care less if they’re “travelling” or snorkelling or doing anything that involves effort, because to me that’s not a holiday.)

My PMT week has become so disruptive that I have downloaded an app to track my periods so that I can be forewarned as to when I’ll be completely useless and potentially dangerous to society; a raging, insecure mess of a woman with a bloated torso that feels like a bargain-basement water bed and a brain that can only function if it is given one simple task at a time.

Writing this is painful, quite frankly. It’s not that I can’t string sentences together, it’s that I have absolutely no motivation to. I just think what’s the point? and this is my default setting for about six or seven days. That’s a quarter of the month! Twenty five percent of my life!

Twenty five per cent of my life spent trying to find my glasses when they are on my head, a quarter of the month spent walking into door handles, dropping heavy books on my feet and writing long mental lists of wrongs that have been done unto me. (Almost all of them entirely fictional.)

The period itself is a walk in the park; I used to get cramps, pre-kids. Cramps no more – barely a twinge. I used to get spots, pre-kids. Now I hardly get any, though that is almost definitely thanks in part to my superb pre-period skincare routine.

No, folks, it’s now the pre-period week that hits me full on in the face; headaches, mood swings and a general feeling of intense pessimism. I’d use the word depression, but I don’t feel as though I know enough about what depression might feel like, and I would hate to reduce or trivialise other people’s experiences, so I prefer “intense pessimism”.

I’ve always had a slightly morbid and overactive imagination, but this kicks into a whole new level when I have PMT. Going to London the next day? I visualise myself being pushed off the edge of the tube platform by an unhinged passerby. Then follows the shocked faces of the people on the platform – a tear runs down the cheek of the kind old gentleman who had tried to help me up using the hook of his umbrella handle, alas too late, and then there’s the mourning scene that always takes place graveside, a la the USA, with (inexplicably) six uniformed military personnel giving an emotional three-volley salute.

(Note to people reading this (hopefully) far in the future – give me another forty years at least if you don’t mind – if my funeral is any less than the above then I shall be frowning down upon you all. I demand lots of tears and full black mourning attire, I also require a lengthy slideshow of my best life moments set to a moving song. Tiny Dancer by Elton John will do it.)

Anyway, see what I mean about morbid? My imagination runs riot. You see a friendly giraffe’s head sticking out over the fence at London Zoo, I imagine myself being mauled by it. Giraffes don’t even maul people!  You see a bus, but in PMT week I just see a big red killing machine. I see danger at every corner – in PMT week it’s amazing to me that anyone manages to stay alive.

So yeah, that’s what I’m dealing with. Excuse me if I just want to lock myself in the wardrobe and sleep.

Does anyone else have these particular PMT symptoms? Are there any effective remedies that you’ve tried?

Oh! Good God, I almost forgot the most important and life-disrupting thing that I’ve recently noticed during PMT week: I’m about ten times more likely to get a bout of cystitis. True fact! It has taken me years to realise this, but I started to write down the dates and I almost always get cystitis about three days before my period. The good thing about this revelation is that I can now watch out for it – like a hawk – and do whatever I can to fend it off. I actually have some antibiotics that are specific to treating that type of infection and they are intended to be taken as a precautionary measure (eg after sex, if that’s your usual trigger) and they’ve worked incredibly well so far. In fact the one time I knew I should have taken a tablet, and didn’t, I got a full-blown water infection.

That was a bit of sudden sidenote and perhaps “too much information” – hi Auntie Margaret! – but so many of you commented on my original cystitis post that I thought it was a sidenote worth sharing. Anyway, proceed with your PMT anecdotes and tips, please…

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71 Comments

  1. Lou
    February 10, 2020 / 7:58 pm

    Agnus castus, Agnus castus, Agnus castus. Get. The. Drops. Tomorrow. You’ll even begin to like the taste. Really, they work. Xx

  2. Aliana
    February 10, 2020 / 7:24 pm

    Look into probiotics. I hear they are exceedingly helpful!

  3. Natasha
    February 10, 2020 / 6:40 pm

    Wow. Seems you’ve touched a subject we all know so well!! I get a little bit blue and super tired. But every month at exactly day 19 I feel really murdery. I could totally forget where I’m at in my cycle and when I’m raging..BOOM.. day 19. I use hormone horoscope to track it. They say you should take omega supplements, but honestly,who the hell remembers? On day 20 today… walked out of a shop because it felt like the cashier was on strike. All I want to say is… same, girl…same. I didn’t have cyclix cystitis, but got it bad about 4 times a year. I take pyridium now like you do your antibiotics. It has made a huge difference! The only time I got a flare was when I didn’t take the meds in time. You have to take it early, because it ‘pauses’ the bacteria. Good luck. You’ll probably be fine, unless you get murdered by a fellow PMT sufferer in the shop line.

  4. Lily Sanchez
    December 16, 2019 / 12:00 am

    Hi Ruth, I second what Jen Morris said. Very good advice and best natural supplements for the symptoms we all seem to share. Good luck!

  5. December 12, 2019 / 8:45 pm

    Only sharing advice because you expressly asked for it (can you tell I’m a content creator who receives too much unsolicited advice??) I’ve found a combination of supplements which hugely helps my hormones: chasteberry, evening primrose oil, dong quai, and black cohosh. I will add that I’m perimenopausal, but if it settles my raging and fluctuating hormones I reckon it would help with PMT, and worth a go. (Please consult your doctor blah blah blah)

    • Tania
      February 10, 2020 / 3:57 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      I think others have mentioned d-mannose for the cystitis. I can vouch that it is effective. A nutritionist recommended it for my toddler when she had repeated urinary tract infections and was on a spiral of antibiotics that completely messed up her gut flora – which lead to more UTI’s. You should take 1 tsp in a small glass of water every hour when the symptoms first start until the pain decreases and then a couple of times a day for a few days. If the pain returns go back to taking it hourly. It worked for my daughter and she’s now 12 and never had antibiotics again. Clinical trials confirm it to be effective.

      For all the perimenopausal ladies that may read this – do consider HRT. Fluctuating hormone levels can cause those symptoms. If you are 45 or older and have perimenopausal symptoms the NICE guidelines for GPs state that women can be prescribed HRT without the need for a blood test. HRT has a longterm protective effect against osteoporosis, dementia and heart problems. The increased risk of breast cancer really is minimal and much, much less than if you are overweight. SSRIs are not the correct treatment for hormonal imbalances. Check out Dr Louise Newson for up to date advice and research

  6. HH
    December 12, 2019 / 8:42 pm

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned stopping periods by using birth control pills. I used to have completely disabling migraines that lasted for weeks with my period . It ruined my life for a couple of weeks each month. I haven’t had a period for 18 months once I started on the progesterone pill. My life is so much better, and my quality of life has improved dramatically. Wish I had done it years ago.

  7. J Adams
    December 11, 2019 / 2:46 pm

    AGNUS CASTUS. This has changed my life. I’m peri-menopausal and my PMT had got to the point where I’d spend two weeks out of every month in the blackest of moods, followed by a week of hideous agony during my period, followed by one week of recovery before the whole horrible process started again. My Nurse Practitioner recommended Agnus Castus tablets (they’re about £8 for a month’s supply from high street pharmacies – you take one daily preferably at the same time each day, I take mine before bed). I started taking them the day they were recommended and have taken them religiously since (for about six months now). Within two days I felt transformed. My PMT now hardly affects me apart from the odd snappy moment and even my periods are less onerous. I haven’t felt that black depression or that my life is ruled by my hormones, ever since I’ve started taking them. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest supplier. Truly I cannot recommend this stuff enough for the impact it’s had on me. Go now!!!

    • Cate
      December 14, 2019 / 8:39 am

      Ooo this is interesting , I’m also perimenopausal and struggling BIG time with full on ugly RAGE .. really horrible feeling so out of control. I’m off to grab some today! Thanks for sharing. And thanks Ruth for being open about the crap we woman have to deal with…

    • Emma
      January 26, 2020 / 11:08 am

      Hi J
      Helpful to read about your positive experience with Agnus Castus. I am also peri menopausal (protracted pmt being my main issue and not knowing when my period will start). I was recommended agnus castus before but was confused when looking on line as there seems to be such a huge variation in dosage and strengths. What strength/dosage do you take? Thanks

  8. Gina
    December 11, 2019 / 8:26 am

    Thank goodness it’s not just me! I literally thought I was getting early-onset dementia last week because I was losing things all over the place and forgetting everything. I even said Good Morning to a car. I’m
    a teacher and the kids thought I’d lost it…
    Can I just say IF THIS HAPPENED TO MEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FIXED RIGHT NOW. There’d be no pissing about with giving up chocolate, carbs, wine, air or vast amounts of time searching for remedies on the internet and shipping things in from the other side of the world. There would be PROPER DRUGS!!!!

  9. Jessica
    December 11, 2019 / 3:19 am

    Hi Ruth, I had similar symptoms and it took me a long while to work out the fact that they were cyclical and would resolve in getting my period. I went to my GP who said this is a common experience and is hormonal. She prescribed me an SSRI (Lexapro) which has made a huge difference, along with Counselling from a psychologist. Don’t suffer any longer. Go and talk to your GP.

    Best of luck!

  10. Barbara Gervasi
    December 10, 2019 / 6:30 pm

    I feel for you! My hormones have driven me batty for years! My own doctor said it will be a great relief when they stop.
    I also give a verbal warning when possible . A large glass of wine is my emergency meds. when things are too much for me & everyone.

    Wishing u the best!

  11. Cathy
    December 10, 2019 / 7:07 am

    You might like to check out this site which has a product called Happy Hormones:
    https://happyhealthyyou.com.au
    It’s an Aussie company but I messaged them and asked if they ship to the UK and they do.
    They have an online self-assessment checklist you can take and they send you a free report about your hormonal issues.
    If you do try them, remember that it takes about 6 weeks to bring about hormonal change, so don’t give up too soon.

    • Bree
      December 12, 2019 / 4:12 am

      Thank you for highlighting this condition Sarah, as it is can develop post-babies. I was recently diagnosed as I noticed I had what could only be described as PMS on steroids for a week or more before my period started. It’s worth having a chat with your GP Ruth! Can be corrected with the pill or another hormonal contraceptive device. Am no longer a raging pit bull, my family like me again.

  12. Melissa
    December 9, 2019 / 11:40 pm
  13. Rebecca Prendergast
    December 9, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    Completely know how you feel. My periods used to be regular and nothing to worry about, now in my 40’s I get severe stomach cramps that make me a home bound strop. Went to doctor and have got to go back as might be endometriosis or fibroids

  14. Amanda Loughridge
    December 9, 2019 / 5:16 pm

    I haven’t had PMT since I started getting a birth control shot after baby #2 was born. I definitely still notice hormonal changes in my skin and mood but I have zero forewarning of it coming.

    • Helene
      December 13, 2019 / 2:11 pm

      A gynecologist’s opinion here. It’s not fair for women to be incapacitated 25% of the time because of PMT/PMDD. This especially occurs in the late 30’s and 40’s when we are dealing with jobs, kids, elderly parents, and a million other things. You can try every diet and supplement etc… but honestly what work is to suppress your menstrual cycle completely with hormonal contraception. No cycles, no symptoms. Please see your doctor. It can be life changing. (46 yrs old and I’m doing it for !)

  15. Deborah Mercer
    December 9, 2019 / 3:52 pm

    What App are people using? I’m scared in case it’s 1 of those ones that use your personal info. I now suffer PMT really quite badly following the birth of my 2nd child almost 3 years ago. I’m going through it this week. Extremely pessimistic, no energy, tired but can’t sleep, withdrawn, anti-social. I don’t want to see or speak to anyone. And I’m extremely irritated to the point that I could massacre my husband and 2 delightful children. I think that if men experienced this for 1 week out of every 4 a solution would be available!

    • Anne
      December 11, 2019 / 5:41 am

      I use Clue. They use your data only for further research on this subject and are very open about it. I have the payed version so I can share my cyclus with my husband, so he knows when to be careful around me ;-)

  16. Julia
    December 9, 2019 / 3:52 pm

    Post-kids, I have noticed that whatever menstrual-related symptoms, including heavy bleeding, tend to go away if I exercise with medium-to-heavy intensity and eat less (yes, I am sorry this is the advice I am giving, but it’s true) in the week or couple of weeks before my period. Hitting the gym and intermediate fasting may not be as easy as a pill, but I guess it also helps with the 40-years-till-funeral goal, so there you go!

  17. December 9, 2019 / 12:50 pm

    I feel you – it was my husband that actually made me aware that I regularly get migraines and mood swings for that particular week – which I of course dismissed and saw as a sign that he was (like I secretly imagined) trying to shame me into feeling like a mad woman.
    Took me several months and tracking my mood swings and migraines as well as my period to find out he was right.
    Now I give him a work of warning on Saturday night, right before the week starts, and he manages to stay clear and not get on my nerves – our marriage is so much happier now!

    Anne

  18. Katy
    December 9, 2019 / 10:24 am

    Yes, totally understand and fully sympathise. That was me pre menopause. Once you’ve got through the awful bits of menopause no longer having PMT is excellent!
    For the cystitis, try Waterfall D Mannose if you haven’t already. For the mood swings/clumsiness/extreme pessimism try smaller frequent meals to keep blood sugar balanced. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar and do more exercise. Not fun suggestions but they do help! Also just accepting you want to rest a bit more (and that’s fine) during that time, and knowing that it’s going to pass helps a little bit too I think. Have a look at the PMS section on Marilyn Glenville’s website to find out about nutrition and supplements that can help. I found acupuncture helped to balance hormones too, (though I think you might have written in the past that you hate needles?) xx

  19. Rach
    December 9, 2019 / 9:48 am

    My PMT is generally all over the place. My boobs get sore and heavy, I have spotting and generally feel like a bloated mess. I don’t get so irritable these days (I’m 46), but I’ve notice irrational thinking creeping in. Maybe it’s always been there but now it’s worse? I’ve been taking magnesium and a nice side effect (this month anyway) is less bloating. It could be back next month, who knows!
    One nice side effect of peri menopause (I presume I’m there, haven’t had the tests) is a shorter, lighter period. I presume my endometriosis is settling. All I know is we women (some of us anyway) suffer through horrible stuff every month!

  20. Mim
    December 9, 2019 / 9:47 am

    Acupuncture has made a world of difference for me

  21. Melissa
    December 9, 2019 / 9:19 am

    I’m so relieved I’m not the only one that gets like this!!

  22. Nanaka
    December 9, 2019 / 9:02 am

    Ugh, I feel your pain! :-(
    I also really struggle a lot with mood swings – about now, my partner is able to read the signs and stay clear of me like he would of a raging tiger… Truly exhausting, not only for me!!!

    Of course, I notice the mood swings are worse if I’m feeling stressed to begin with. This does not help whatsoever, because obviously feeling stressed is nothing I do intentionally. But again, even though I can usually barely work up the motivation to get myself on the mat, yoga really helps me in these situations… I am by NO means a sporty person, but I will feel relieved and better after exercise. (I guess it doesn’t matter what type of exercise – just do whatever you feel least irritated by. Running for example would just irritate me even more…)

    Anyways, hope you will feel better soon! PMT feels hugely unfair and a waste of time, but if it is off any help, I still found your post amusing and had to laugh out loud at your disaster visions in London tube stations. ;-) Humor always helps, too!

  23. Andrea
    December 9, 2019 / 8:50 am

    Try Uva Ursi drops for the cystitis – it’s a herbal remedy, you can find it in Holland and Barrett. I know it sounds a bit hippyish but it’s always worked for me!

  24. Andrea
    December 9, 2019 / 8:47 am

    Ugghhh…I feel your pain. I turned 40 in September and I’ve been feeling exactly like this for about the past 4-6 months during my period. It was driving me nuts so I did a bit of Googling to see if there were any natural supplements that might help and I came across Magnesium OK (Wassen – We Support Monthly Cycle). I get them from Amazon and have been taking them for a couple of months now. They have literally been life changing for me. Inexpensive and effective in my opinion – give them a try :) xx

    • Katy
      December 9, 2019 / 12:50 pm

      Yes, agreed, magnesium is very effective!

    • Sam
      December 9, 2019 / 5:14 pm

      I’m definitley going to try this – I’m about to turn 40 and feel like I’m going nuts!

  25. cj
    December 9, 2019 / 7:41 am

    Ruth, that sounds incredibly difficult and I’m sorry you have to deal with it. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    I have no really relevant tips because I don’t have PMT, though the Paleo diet I’ve been trying for a couple of months is proving to be very, very helpful for me in terms of depressive symptoms and mood. Even though it’s winter (‘not typically a good time for me’ is a massive understatement) and I’m dealing with a lot of stress, my brain is happy and thriving. I feel focused, motivated, content, and able to cope. AND the weirdest thing is I don’t get any period cramps at all now—they’re just gone. This has convinced me that there’s a strong connection between what I eat and my period.

    I LOVED bread, pasta, and brownies and was very sceptical about giving up whole food groups. But giving up grains, legumes, and sugar has made such a huge difference to my physical and mental well-being.

    Not sure dietary changes would help in your situation and I don’t know that Paleo is for everyone. But I’ve certainly felt hopeless (even while on anti-depressants that were working well) about ever being able to really get well instead of just surviving. These last two months have given me hope! You will find something that works, too.

    XOXO

  26. Jen
    December 9, 2019 / 7:20 am

    Since having my son this is what I am experiencing too. My friend aptly called it the Wolf at my door, and this is exactly how I feel. It is exhausting and very upsetting as I feel so low I think I may be going mad. Not great when you have a toddler to look after. I wish I had come to Cribbs and given you a hug! I have no advice but I am going to read Period Power by Maisie Hill xxx

  27. Nicola
    December 9, 2019 / 6:47 am

    What a brilliant piece

  28. Anne
    December 9, 2019 / 6:39 am

    This is so recognizable! In the week before my periods I am terrible at work but most annoying of all is that I get paranoid. I’m sure that someone will poison my cats (when I’m on holiday that period I’m sure that my lovely catsitter will kill my cats…). My husband is used to it but when we started dating I told him about it and later he confessed that he had now idea that i would be this bad. Luckily he feels sorry me and is very sweet that week. Have seen my general practitioner about it but apart from eating healty and excerise she has no solutions.

  29. Laura
    December 9, 2019 / 3:02 am

    If you drink barley water (squash) stop right now. That stuff is a highway to cystitis. Other than that I take the progesterone only pill to keep me level and banish PMT.

  30. Cara
    December 9, 2019 / 2:16 am

    I completely understand about feeling awful/unmotivated/pessimistic in the pre-period week and yes it’s quite outrageous that it’s 25% of the time!
    I think when I had the Mirena IUD I was good, no periods after a few months. It really is disruptive having PMT. You have described it really well

    • Maireaddy
      December 9, 2019 / 6:40 pm

      Love my Mirena. My PMT wasn’t that bad (just sore breasts and a slight melancholia) but my period pains were horrific. Also nice to have stable weight.

  31. Ciara
    December 8, 2019 / 11:08 pm

    Cystitis aside, I could have written this post. If it wasn’t my PMT week. But it is and in which case, it’s a miracle I’ve even summoned the muster to even compose this comment. Basically, I feel like a human raincloud every 3rd week in 4 and I hate it. The End.

  32. Ellie
    December 8, 2019 / 10:41 pm

    My friend went on an SSRI for exactly what you’re describing – she basically couldn’t function the week before her period. It’s really helped her – maybe look into it…

  33. Rosie
    December 8, 2019 / 10:27 pm

    Hi Ruth, I started acupuncture on the advice on my gynae 3 months ago. My PMT symptoms included a migraine 2 days before my period started, major anxiety, mood swings and extreme irritability. The acupuncture has helped improve my PMT quite a lot. I was not keen to go on pills etc just yet and wanted to explore a more “soft” approach. All the best!

  34. Katherine
    December 8, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    Ruth, I totally hear you. I don’t get fuzzy headed but my irritation levels shoot through the roof and my anti depressants suddenly let me down to the point I have begged my drs for a better dose (they always turn me down and I always feel like they just don’t UNDERSTAND!). I feel exhausted, angry and irritated and weepy and no-one understands me during this time. It can feel very lonely esp. when you live in the sticks and work from home. I do find yoga (@sadienardinioffical) helps while I’m doing it but afterwards the calm runs out fast I have also found walking in nature helps, but I’m talking fractions of a degree here! I look forward to your feedback on this topic at some point in the future.

  35. Jo.C.
    December 8, 2019 / 9:53 pm

    I haven’t had a bad PMT day/week for a long time but today, wow, I’ve had a full blown PMT day. Throwing things but being careful to not actually break anything, shouting, swearing loudly to myself, then I had to stop myself as I had actually frightened my 9yr old, which made me immensely guilty. Then came the thoughts of ‘What if I died today and the last thing my family saw was me being a complete frigging nutter’. Hopefully the rest of the week will be ok….fingers crossed! Lol. I find cutting out sugar/alcohol and drinking Twinnings Calm herbal tea helps. Hang in there my dear!

  36. Anna S
    December 8, 2019 / 9:28 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    I’m sorry you’re suffering such bad PMT symptoms. Have you considered acupuncture? It’s highly effective in treating this and it doesn’t hurt at all.
    All the best, Anna.

  37. sarah
    December 8, 2019 / 9:27 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    Could you try the mini pill and make them go away? I have no PMT symptoms at all with this. I’m at the age now when I should really come off it and see how close to menopause I am but I just can’t face going back to periods and their associated mental health hell. Eurgh…

  38. Kate
    December 8, 2019 / 9:17 pm

    Oh God, so glad to know I’m not the only one! This was me until about four months ago. PMT which used to last two days started lasting for 3, then 5, then 7 and I was a complete wreck during that week so the slightest thing would send me into floods of tears. Anyway, It turns out I’m not mad, but going through the peri menopause (I’m 42 so I wasn’t expecting this just yet). HRT has massively helped to even out the monthly depression and anxiety attacks and while they haven’t gone away completely it has definitely improved things.

  39. Cat
    December 8, 2019 / 9:06 pm

    Yes, this, 100%. I find myself fierce downinthedumps and anxious…..my two ‘babies’ are almost exactly the same age as yours and I thought it would fade but not yet. I am not the world’s most confident driver anyway but PMT week it goes off the scale and I find it really hard to drive…my hubby notices me anxiously over correcting my road position like I’m driving next to a cliff. However, some hope, I recently started a vitamin b complex and I swear it is helping ! Nice to know its not just me :)

  40. Cheryl
    December 8, 2019 / 9:04 pm

    Hi
    My PMT has been shocking since having my second child (nearly 11 years ago)!! I was put on anti-depressants for 2 weeks every month and they really did work. For other reasons I’m on them everyday now but being on them for half of the month definitely helped. I’m now 3 weeks away from being 40 and my symptoms have gone worse and I now have night sweats too! I cry, eat too much, hate everyone, don’t sleep yet feel so run down and generally just feel low. I now have very heavy periods that last over a week (only since August) but don’t have any pain. I also track mine on an app. Would be happy to take any advice to help! Thank you for such an honest post. This needs to be spoken about more as I often feel like I’m losing my mind xx

  41. Hilary
    December 8, 2019 / 8:55 pm

    PMDD! I routinely want to divorce my husband for breathing too loudly and I become pathologically indecisive. And sounds and smells become weirdly intensified?

    People recommend St John’s wort and rosehip oil to me but I suspect they haven’t actually experienced PMDD. *Feminism intensifies*

    Sorry you’ve been feeling rubbish x

  42. Kate
    December 8, 2019 / 8:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this post! I deal with similar things every month. A couple of days before my period I start to feel like everything is going wrong and nothing is ever going to be okay ever again, like life is this total darkness with no happiness at all. I also get really scared that something will happen to my daughter, and if this happens to be at the same time as my husband is travelling for work I get almost paralized with fear at the thought of being alone with her. And that’s not to mention the smaller things, like being tired all the time, or like even the simplest of tasks becoming huge challenges, or wanting to start crying about every ten seconds. This started after I gave birth, and I’m sure it’s something hormonal, and I really should see a doctor, but I never seem to get around to it, and also don’t really know how to explain what exactly is happening. But, like you said, it’s making a quater of each month pure hell, and when you put it like that, maybe this post will motivaite me to actually go see a doctor and try to fix this.

    • Cara
      December 13, 2019 / 6:53 am

      Please do Kate, you definitely deserve to feel better all the time. Good luck

  43. Louise M
    December 8, 2019 / 8:52 pm

    Can relate to this totally. Recently went to a women’s health GP who put me on anti depressants on days 14-28 of my cycle. She mentioned that this was one of the approaches of a leading specialists in women’s mental health and it’s relation to hormones ( who happened to be local) recently died and there were hundreds of women at his funeral who he had helped. All I could think of when she was telling me this was “What a fucking bastard! He had to die before seeing me?” A totally normal reaction for someone experiencing extreme PMT, am I right?

  44. December 8, 2019 / 8:36 pm

    Hello Ruth! I think I could easily have a bottle of wine or two while having a chat about this. It’s morbidly fun to talk abouth.. Here we go..first: before kids I had funny/«no» hormones, and no pmt..but also hardly any sex drive. I did react badly taking the pill, and tried different types. I would either become the biggest bitch alive, or bleed every single day. So after two kids I’m refusing to take anything, which means my kind and patient husband wears a condom. But then again, we hardly have sex.. And that brings me to bladder infection. I used to have it all the time. Even thinking about it triggered it..at least it felt like it. I think it’s hormonal, but also a combination of things. The man’s hygiene is super important. Also, I think semen is super bad for the environment… which doesn’t make sense to me. The one thing that would help me was a cream called Multi-Gyn, you would insert the tip to get it where needed, and it would sting heavenly for a half hour! Nothing better than to itch the scratch! Or scratch the itch!? I think my hormones are different now. But not having sex probably helps too.. haha..sorry, that is such a bad advice! Really, I wish I wanted to have sex, but it is just inside my head I really want it, and always with someone else than my husband. Sorry husband..he’s a really good guy! So after two kids I have pmt, but since I’m not used to it, it makes me so confused! You put it into words for me, thank you! I will now put a reminder in my calendar to say to myself: don’t worry about how tou feel, it will be gone in a few days. Also, every second period is hell, I bleed like after birth for seven days, it’s painful, my body is so full of water and I feel super ugly. The other months I have a light bleeding, no pain and feel pretty as a daisy.. So what I learned growing up with my mom; the bloody hormones gives you hell. I did manage to turn things around slightly by changing diet accordingly to Angelique Panagos. Look her up, her book is good, it changed how my body feels (hormonally) and changed how I think about food. Ps: I read somewhere that hormones affect the way you (not) shop! Depending on where you are in your cycle, it can make you be more impulsive, or scared of buying anything at all. That explains how I can spend weeks filling up my shopping cart(s), before finally desiding not to get anything at all!! Not very helpful this email though, but thank you for being so funny and writing about stuff people might not talk about! Heidi

  45. Christina
    December 8, 2019 / 8:33 pm

    I suffered from PMT for years. Then I became vegan and didn’t realize at first that the symptoms were slowly disappearing. Today I am symptom-free. It seems to be a surprising side effect of a plant based diet.

  46. Polly
    December 8, 2019 / 8:21 pm

    It’s so reassuring to read I’m not the only one who suffers from crippling PMT, the worst feeling of not being myself or being able to ‘snap out of it’. I had my first child 16 months ago and I’m certain my PMT has been worse since I got my periods back (or maybe it’s just sleep deprivation and added responsibility that’s compounding the issue…).

    I’ll be watching this page with a beady eye to see if anyone has any tips – does acupuncture have any success easing PMT?

  47. Marie
    December 8, 2019 / 8:14 pm

    I suffer from terrible PMT and very, very painful periods. The mood swings, feeling constantly teary and emotional as well as the pessimism descend suddenly and I soon realise that the hormones are to blame, not that helps me snap out of it. Today, for example, I saw some pictures of friends on Instagram and they made me feel so upset and question my own life choices that I deleted the app from my phone. I then spent half an hour on the train platform crying to my husband and feeling like a bad person. I am sorry, Ruth, that you are feeling this intense pessimism but be assured that you are not alone. I read somewhere that Agnus Castus can help PMT. They are really bitter-tasting drops that you put into orange juice (water will not hide the foul taste) and they are supposed to relieve symptoms. I haven’t been consistent enough with them to be able to tell you if they really work but they might be worth a try.

  48. Sara
    December 8, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    Medical advice seems reasonable! Perhaps take proper antidepressant during these days or however pmt treatment works. I can relate a lot to your symptoms. However it’s halfway under control for me at the moment due to breastfeeding. But I plan on looking into it if it gets worse after bf time is over. Catastrophe thinking and feeling the uselessness of life in general but housework in particular and also getting reeeaally pissed off at the kids all the time. I have been there and feel depression is a valid description, even if it’s only for a few days at a time with pmt.

  49. Janet
    December 8, 2019 / 7:57 pm

    Hi Ruth. I suffered terribly with PMT for years. My GP said that he could fix it with Accupuncture. To my surprise he did. It was bloody marvellous. I had recurring cystitis in the 1980’s. I was so bad that I ended up with a kidney infection and had months off work. Desperate, I went to the ‘Clap Clinic’. I had every investigation available. Nothing. But the Doctor thought I might be allergic to something. He advised against using bubble bath, washing my hair in the bath and washing knickers in biological washing powder. I was to use a mild soap only on my nether regions and pee before and after sex. His advice worked, I’ve only had problems when deviating from above. Unfortunately we’re all different, very good luck in finding relief!

  50. Tiffany
    December 8, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    Maybe you should try to change your birth control method as PMT is highly related to hormones. Adding, changing or removing a particular mix may help you.
    I also noticed that PMT is getting worse since I have birth. I always wonder whether it’s due to my pregnancy or mere ageing.
    You definitely should tell your doctor about this.

  51. Abi
    December 8, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    Since having my baby 17m ago the pmt has gone stratospheric. I’m wired to kill in that week. Look at me the wrong way and I will deck you. Stand side by side with a mate on an escalator in front of me and then stop at the bottom to decide on where to go next? I will literally want to smash your face in to the escalator teeth (?)! But only in that week… well, maybe not if you d1ck about too long at the bottom of the escalator!!

  52. Louise
    December 8, 2019 / 7:48 pm

    Check with a GP who is experienced in menopause that you’re not perimenopausal. Not suggesting for one minute that you are, but it’s worth having the conversation (I went through all of this after the birth of my last baby who was born when I was 40, so I sympathise hugely). Worsening PMT is also a common (non-menopause related) symptom post babies and breast feeding, unfortunately! Very best of luck, hope you find some answers

  53. Lizzy
    December 8, 2019 / 7:42 pm

    I too get very clumsy and the slightest thing makes me want to kill everyone
    I also get extremely emotionally and anxiety that is totally irrational. I do believe it’s a form of depression tbh.
    Is it worth a visit to your GP to see if there’s anything that may help?
    You’re not alone xx

  54. Denise
    December 8, 2019 / 7:42 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re feeling like this. I find Agnus Castus helps – and my poor husband agrees ! Xx

  55. Anna
    December 8, 2019 / 7:36 pm

    Hi Ruth,

    I’m pregnant at the moment and although it comes with other issues, definitely not missing this!!

    I’d say go and see your GP as it’s affecting you quite badly it seems. Depending on what contraception you’re using could be linked with that?

    The best advice I can give is as counterintuitive as it may seem: exercise really does help a great deal. I know it’s helped me and quite a few friends too.

    All the best,
    Anna x

  56. Lisa Lopez
    December 8, 2019 / 7:30 pm

    Saw the Mr. Bear pic and was looking for a cat story.

    Carry on….

  57. JillW
    December 8, 2019 / 7:15 pm

    I know how you feel, in the week before my period I find that my anxiety levels go through the roof. I worry about stuff that wouldn’t normally phase me. I also get the most epic headaches that no painkiller can touch!

    Hopefully someone out their has a solution!

    • Julia
      December 10, 2019 / 5:28 am

      Jillw – I suffered from menstrual migraines from the moment I turned 40. No doctor had any useful suggestions whatsoever- they all just shrugged and said, “yes that’s common” as if it’s ok. It is NOT ok to be incapacitated with epic pain, nausea, & brain fog a week each month. I figured I was on my own so I started fiddling with eliminating things – first alcohol. Can we all observe a moment of silence in honor of all the red wine & margaritas I no longer enjoy? Amen.

      Next to go was chocolate. Yes. Really. Then I cut my coffee intake to only decaf. Finally I read some stats about how much caffeine there still is in decaffeinated coffee & how little it takes to affect the brain. So I gave up coffee entirely & became an herbal tea only gal. Mostly mint tea – I find its scent quite calming.

      While each of those changes helped somewhat, I would say cutting out coffee entirely had the greatest effect by far. I can even cheat & have a little chocolate now & then if I don’t overdo it (despite it having caffeine in it – but I have to observe limits). I pass this along to say you are definitely not alone & to throw out some possibilities for you to consider.

      As always I appreciate all the comments as much as your post, Ruth. I hope all of you find ideas that might help from this terrific group of women.

  58. Kitty
    December 8, 2019 / 6:55 pm

    The only thing that cured my PMT (identical symptoms to you, also only started after they birth if my second child) was getting the Mirena coil.

    I was initially reluctant to go on hormonal birth control, but because the hormones are so localised, I haven’t had any negative side effects. I also have zero periods, which is a mega bonus.

    As soon as it was implanted, it was like a switch went off, and suddenly I could function again!

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