Women’s Struggle with PMDD Diagnosis in Canada

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a misunderstood and debilitating disorder that affects women across Canada. In places like Hamilton, many women are facing challenges in getting a proper diagnosis due to the lack of awareness about the disorder.

Doctors explain that PMDD shares symptoms with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but the intensity and impact on daily life are much more severe. Symptoms include bloating, abdominal pain, sleep disturbances, and mood changes, which can be disabling for some women.

Tonia Jahshan shared her experience with CHCH News, describing the difficulty of piecing together her symptoms before receiving a diagnosis of PMDD. She struggled with overwhelming emotional and physical distress, including thoughts of suicide during the worst days. After consulting with a psychiatrist, Jahshan was prescribed medication to manage her anxiety and depression, bringing her relief and clarity.

While Jahshan found support at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, many women face barriers in accessing appropriate treatment for PMDD. The disorder has only been officially recognized as a mood disorder in recent years, leading to confusion with PMS among women.

Clinical health psychologist Sheryl Green emphasizes the importance of effective assessment and treatment for PMDD, as many women may mistakenly believe their symptoms are normal. Estimates suggest that a significant number of Canadian women, ranging from 1.5 to 6 percent, may be living with PMDD.

Community support plays a crucial role in addressing PMDD, with the need for open conversations with friends and healthcare professionals to seek help when needed. Events like Hamilton’s annual Run for Women contribute to raising awareness and supporting women’s mental health and substance use care at St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

As women continue to navigate the challenges of PMDD, recognizing the disorder and seeking appropriate care are essential steps towards improving overall well-being and quality of life.