My Experience of PMDD (Yasmin, Prozac, Effexor)

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When I was struggling I turned to these forums for help and support (even though I never wrote anything). Now that I have found something to help me, I thought if I wrote them here then it might help someone out there!

I am 32 now but have always different crippling period pains and always had pretty bad PMS symptoms - grouchy and angry and sad! But over the last few years, that PMS developed into PMDD and was increasingly taking over my life. Up to two weeks before my period I would get depressed, swing between crying and erupting into anger. I found myself withdrawing and unable to handle anyone's company at all and pushed everyone away. I felt overwhelmed by everything as my anxiety took over. It was like a fog descending on me every month. As time passed I found it got me down more and more throughout the month too.

Eventually with the help of my partner we made an attempt to break the cycle of despair. I saw a gyaenacologist in the middle of my worst PMDD. I cried and I pleaded for help, to which I got told it was just bad PMS, I should find a hobby, better still a boyfriend to 'cheer me up'. (the effort it took me to conjure the strength to book an appointment and show up, only to be greeted by an unsympathetic ear drives me to despair). He gave me Yasmin to try (I had never been on any pill before).

I tried Yasmin for 6 months during which

- I lost 5kg (which sent me seriously underweight)

- My undiagnosed PMDD seemed to increasingly take over 

- my usually awful period cramps diminished and my periods were light

It all came to a head again in June when my eyes glazed over, I fell into the depths of depression anxiety and anger - worse than ever before. We managed to find a wonderful gyaenacologist with a background in psychology and an incredibly patient demeanor.

We talked through symptoms, ( I cried a lot) and she decided to run tests on my thyroid and iron levels (as both can seriously affect moods). Both were negative so PMDD was the likely culprit. 

The first thing to trial for two weeks was Prozac (20mg). I also decided to go off the Yasmin.

I had an awful two weeks with Prozac side effects and these were my symptoms - 

Very dilated pupils

Sore/strained eyes

Weakness in my muscles

Drowsy, oversleeping

Foggy, poor concentration and memory

Dry mouth

Some hair loss

Stomach upset diarrhea/constipation

Other symptoms were intermittent or one offs

Nausea

Anxiety (panic attack)

My dilated pupils were causing mw real soreness and it can be really bad for your vision to allow so much light into the eye so Prozac was dumped and I was put on Effexor XR (37.5mg) instead.

I took them in the morning, I didn't have ant withdrawn problems if I ever took it late or anything. 

My side effects during the first few weeks were 

- Dilated pupils (these did eventually go down though)

- Constipation and bad bloating

- Bruxism (teeth clenching)

- Muscle Weakness (no power)

- Momentary black outs

- Blurry vision

- Tiredness and hard to concentrate

- Lack of sensitivity 

- Room spinning

- Nausea

- Heart rate high, feeling jittery

Then over time most of these eased -

6 weeks in I still have some bruxism, constipation and bad bloating.

Over the course of 6 weeks I was back up to my normal weight again, feeling positive and happy. I had some PMDD symptoms before my first period, but was only 2weeks into taking Effexor. After 6 weeks and my second period, I had no sign of PMDD, just the usual bad cramps and tiredness but I can deal with that!! 

The best advice I can give for anyone with PMDD

- write a journal or track your symptoms (mark out of 5 e.g. Mood swings, depression, sensitivity, overwhelmed, anxiety etc)

- do not settle until you find a Dr who is listening and recognises that this a hugely debilitating illness and that it may take a range of trying different things to find success.

- Think in terms of percentages. Each little thing you do might improve your life by just a small percentage, but the more things you try, the bigger liklihood that you begin to feel improvements. 

E.g. Go to the Dr, try to eat better, try to exercise more, try mindfulness meditation etc.

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi.

    I have just read your post as I am having the worst time ever.

    I had severe post natal depression 10 days after having my daughter. I was put onto the anti depressant mirrazapine 45mg and this kept me sane for 1 year.

    I then decided to try contraceptive pills and this was the beginning of hell for me. Microgynon and loestrin. Both sent me crazy, no sleep, couldn't eat, suicidal thoughts etc.

    Venlafaxine (Effexor) was then added to my mirtazapine 37.5mg and worked amazingly for 2 years.

    Last December I fell into a deep depression 14 days before my period, my Effexor was increased. This happened again in February 10 days before my period April 10 days before my period June 10 days before my period.

    I have a cervical erosion and had this frozen late July. Before this my periods would be 5 days spotting 5 days normal, since the procedure my last two periods August and September have been hell. No sleep, severe anxiety, crying all the time and I just want to die.

    My meds have been increased so much I am on 225mg venlafaxine and 45mg mirrazapine.

    My doctor has given me cerazette contraceptive pill to take with the idea to stop my periods completely however after reacting so awfully to the contraceptives I am terrified to take this especially as I have no room to increase the anti-depressants.

    I don't know what the answer is anymore and why my anti depressants are no longer helping me through my hormones.

    The doctors all seem to think I am crazy, I paid privately to see an endocrine and he said that my hormones and thyroid were all normal and just didn't care.

    I am now begging to see a psychiatrist to see if they can help me. God knows what mind bending drugs I will be put on next 😭

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    • Posted

      Hi.

      Wow completely forgot I had posted this until I got the email notification.

      I have found something to help.... I joined a group on facebook. PMDD severe PMS UK.

      If you have Facebook please please join this group. There are hundreds on ladies on there going through this!

      I had to pay privately and go up to harley street in London but I saw the most amazing clinic that specialise in hormones.

      Cost me about £800 in total but It has saved my life. I use a oestrogen patch constantly and have been great ever since.

      I now just pay for my hormones every three months about £45 in boots but it is worth it.

      Lots and lots of other options out there if you join the group and post about what you are experiencing lots of ladies to give advice.

      I was getting no where with NHS but a lot of ladies can get refered through GP to the right gynae. I just couldn't carry on the way I was so I paid privately.

      Hope This helps. Xx

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for the quick reply! I'm in the US but I'm going to look up the Facebook page! I'm great two weeks out of the month but the other two are miserable. I have severe depression/anxiety and I know it's hormone related. I currently take 12.5 mg Prozac. Do you still have to take antidepressants while on the estrogen patch?

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