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Theories on PMDD: Where did I get this sh*t?

There are many theories on what causes PMDD - premenstrual dysphoric disorder. People who have PMDD aren't always that interested in why, they only know that something disrupts their lives every month or so, and it's a challenge to experience. “I do not feel like my authentic self when I’m in PMDD," said one member of the PMDD Sunday Support Group. "It really feels like a demon controlling me.”

Here are some of the going theories that have come up in the support group, anecdotal theories from people who experience PMDD.

Theory 1: Allergies

Most listicles about PMDD start with common elements, talk about progesterone and a lack of vitamin D.

We're going deep right away here and bringing up one theory that's still being tested: whether histamines have anything to do with PMDD flareups.

Solutions related to this theory: Antihistamines like Allegra, and a natural supplement called quercetin, taken with bromelain.

Theory 2: Trauma

Every person in the support group who reports PMDD also reports some kind of past trauma. PMDD can be triggered by grief, by stress, by trauma.

Solutions related to this theory: Post-traumatic stress therapy like EMDR to address and heal the younger child hurt.

Theory 3: Sensitivity

PMDD patients are emotionally sensitive and seemingly physically sensitive, too. Sometimes it's a sensitivity to noise, sometimes it's a sensitivity to the way people react or being shut down or invalidated. Triggers are all around us, especially during the last 10 days of the cycle, and sensitive people are likely to blow up after awhile.

Solutions related to this theory: Dairy-free diet, seed cycling, lots of supplements.

Theory 4: Hereditary

PMDD was added to the DSM in 1997, so most of us are the first generation getting this diagnosis. Our moms and grandmas didn’t know what to call it, but they struggled with the same mood swings we experience.

Solutions: Behavioral therapy to address growing up in an explosive household and to learn how to break the cycle of trauma.

Talk with people who experience PMDD in a weekly support group, or read more on the very popular subReddit, r/pmdd.


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