By Joy Bing Fleming
I was recently diagnosed with PMDD; however, I was misdiagnosed for 23 years. Now, I’m focused on providing support, creating awareness, and assisting others. I want to share a little bit about my journey and what treatment options have significantly made a difference with my PMDD symptoms.
Four months ago (at age 44), I discovered that the cause of my PMDD is a progesterone sensitivity/allergy. I received custom made progesterone allergy drops from the Center for Occupational & Environmental Medicine, and my symptoms have significantly decreased. My doctor diagnosed me with many allergies, and he recommended the book, The Allergy Solution, by Leo Galland, MD. In the book, it explains that allergies don’t just cause symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and hives. Allergies can actually cause a wide variety of symptoms (including mood disorders). This was a huge revelation to me.
When I was 21 years old, I took birth control pills containing a progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone). Since I was sensitive/allergic to progesterone, it triggered a mood disorder – PMDD. Learning this was one of the happiest days of my life because I finally had a diagnosis. From ages 21-44, I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know the cause. I tried a myriad of different treatment options, lifestyle changes, and more. Still, nothing made an impact on my symptoms, and I eventually developed suicidal thoughts. Finally, my prayers were answered, and this whole mystery was solved.
Now, PMDD is a legitimate medical diagnosis worldwide. The International Association for Premenstrual Disorders posted the following:
“In a landmark decision in May 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) added Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11). PMDD now has its own ICD code (GA34.41), validating PMDD as a legitimate medical diagnosis worldwide and acknowledging our growing scientific and medical understanding of this little known but debilitating condition.”International Association for Premenstrual Disorders, June 2019
This will make a massive impact on PMDD warriors. During the 23 years in which I was misdiagnosed, my doctors didn’t think I had a serious medical condition. They thought I was either making up my symptoms or simply choosing to be this way. Now, for the first time, medical professionals can look at the World Health Organization as verification that PMDD is a legitimate medical condition. Women can use this to help advocate for themselves when speaking to their doctors.
I haven’t read much about women being treated with progesterone allergy drops or allergy shots, so I wanted to share this as a treatment option that worked for me and might work for others. My doctor has a patient who experienced panic attacks when eating eggs (due to an egg allergy) and another who experienced panic attacks when exposed to mold (due to a mold allergy). When their allergies were treated, their panic attacks dissipated. So, a progesterone allergy may trigger PMDD, and other allergies may make PMDD symptoms worse.
I hope this helps all the PMDD warriors out there. PMDD is a diagnosis, but it doesn’t have to define you. It’s not who you are. You are amazing and beautiful! Stay strong! Embrace yourself and love yourself completely.
About the Warrior
Joy Bing Fleming, MBA, CC
My name is Joy. I’m a PMDD warrior and an advocate for anyone who is struggling with a misdiagnosis or feeling misunderstood/unaccepted. You are not alone. Keep persevering and never give up. Strength grows through struggles.