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3 Ways PMDD Affects Your Life (+1 Under-Considered Factor!)

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) can be a debilitating disorder. It is chronic, meaning it is more or less happening continuously. The constant and repetitive cycles of pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression can be overwhelming. The average menstruator will have about 450 periods in their lifetime. That is a lot of cyclical suffering!

The main criteria separating garden-variety PMS from PMDD is the degree to which the symptoms create difficulty or dysfunction in these three specific areas of life: home, school/work, and relationships. Personally, I think that there is also one more very important area to be considered, so stay tuned to the end to find out! You can either watch the video or read the blog post below.

Home Life

PMDD can make your home life very difficult. The one place where you should be able to feel safe, calm, and relaxed can become the only place where it's safe to let your (very large and overwhelming) emotions out. However, those that you life with tend to misunderstand why this is happening and think that their loved one is lashing out and picking fights on purpose. I would wager a guess that PMDD is responsible for causing deep rifts or even ruining many family relationships and marriages.

Family Relationships

PMDD can be hard to deal with when your family doesn't understand what is going on with you. In fact, up to 90% of PMDD sufferers are undiagnosed, meaning most don't even know what's going on with themselves! You and your family may not understand why you are moody or upset at times. This can create an environment ripe for misunderstandings and arguments.

Personally, my relationships with my parents and sister were fraught through my teenage years and early twenties, when my PMDD first began. My family thought that I was just a typical angsty teenager, taking my anger out on them. I would use up all of my energy trying to keep it together at school or work, and finally break down at home. In reality, home was my only safe place to let my emotions out and finally feel them.

Many people with PMDD feel misunderstood by their loved ones, but don't have an explanation for the way they are feeling. Learning more about PMDD, educating family members, and asking for accommodations such as extra space or patience can make all the difference in this type of situation.

Extended Family

My relationships with extended family have also suffered as I have, at times, found it hard to make it to family events such as holidays, birthdays, baby showers, weddings, and the like. Sometimes your social meter is just too drained to go, and if you force yourself to, you come across as cold and moody. Amidst the ups and downs of PMDD, it's hard to care for yourself, nevermind remembering birthdays, gifts, cards, and everyone else's business. You may love your family, but it's hard to keep up with the crowd. It may also be difficult to watch siblings and cousins your age surpass you in life milestones because they are not hindered by a debilitating disorder. Although you're happy for them, this can be painful and hard on self-esteem.

Partner Relationships

Similarly, my relationship with my partner has also suffered over the years. Although he is now very understanding, it has taken a lot of research, communication, and personal experience with the ups and downs for us to reach the place we are today. I often felt afraid that he would leave me due to my bouts of depression and anxiety. My libido has suffered on an off throughout the years as well, which has also added strain on the relationship at times. Not only can the menstrual cycle can affect libido, but medications for PMDD are also known to decrease it as well. I often hear that PMDD has a negative impact on partner relationships, and that being left behind is one of the most worrying factors for sufferers. The same tips I mentioned above for direct family members can be useful here.


As PMDD has affected my everyday life so deeply, and as it may also increase the chances of having severe postpartum depression (PPD), I have also delayed having children. It's possible that PMDD may be the primary reason that I decide not to have kids at all. It's an agonizing decision and it also affects my relationships with my partner, family, and friends. It may also deprive me of a relationship with my possible children, but ultimately I know that I need to make choices in my best interest to support my mental and physical health.

That being said, many PMDD Warriors do have children and there is no doubt that they love and care for them. But parenting with PMDD can be a big challenge. At certain times, patience can wane, tempers can flare, and it can be ha