A woman says her periods were so severe they contributed to the breakdown of her marriage – but now she’s looking for love again after life-changing treatment.
Akane Allison, 43, was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) – a very severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) – in March 2019.
The condition – which is so debilitating it’s classed as a disability – left her with severe mood swings for 14 years and suffering uncontrollable angry outbursts, which she says she often took out on her ex-partner.
Despite her best efforts to seek help, none of the medications she was put on improved her condition and doctors even suggested a full hysterectomy might be on the cards as they struggled to treat her.
But after battling the condition for years, Akane was finally able to access a treatment that worked – Zoladex injections – a type of hormone therapy that suppresses the production of sex hormones and triggers early menopause.
Sadly, it was “too late” for her marriage which ended August 2019.
Akane is still on good terms with her ex, but the relationship broke down for multiple different reasons, including the effects of her PMDD.
Akane says she noticed a dramatic difference straight away after starting the injections and is “now cured” of her PMDD symptoms and looking for love again.
Akane, a care assistant, from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Northumberland, said: ‘’My periods controlled and ruined my life.
“There was only one week a month where I didn’t have symptoms, so I spent most of my life suffering.
“No one understands how debilitating it is – it’s not just a bit of period pain and mood swings.
“My ex and I argued all the time – it was an incredibly difficult time for the whole family.
‘’Since having the injections, my life has completely changed, and I’ve even started dating again.
“I want to be in love and feel happy after struggling for so long.
‘’My life feels like it has finally begun at 40, and I can’t wait to enjoy it as much as possible.’’
Akane struggled with post-natal depression after the birth of her daughter, Mio, now 17.
As Akane recovered, she noticed other symptoms – including severe headaches, diarrhoea and constipation, leg pain, fatigue, cystitis, as well as deep depression, irritability and extreme anger.
The combination of her debilitating physical symptoms, as well as the frightening effects on her mental health, resulted in Akane feeling suicidal and she struggled to get out of bed or parent her young child.
In an attempt to help with her symptoms, Akane tried different contraceptive pills and the copper coil to help balance her hormones, but “sadly nothing worked”.
“PMDD was definitely a contributing factor in the breakdown of my marriage,” Akane explained. “It affected my daily life, which impacted my family.
“I got so depressed and could get so angry. Every month we’d have the same arguments over and over. It was really hard.”
It became clear this was more severe than just PMS, and after speaking to the psychiatric team she was eventually diagnosed with PMDD in February 2019, after suffering for 14 years.
Akane said: “I felt relieved to know what was finally causing me to feel this way. But I was also scared as I didn’t know what the new treatment would entail.”
In February 2019, doctors suggested she have a hysterectomy, to remove her uterus and ovaries, in an attempt to manage her condition.
However, it would cause early menopause.
“The doctors feared that menopause could be worse than PMDD for me,” Akane explained.
In March 2019, she started having Zoladex injections once a month.
Zoladex is typically used on patients with breast or ovarian cancer, as it suppresses production of sex hormones and can trigger menopause.
After the first injection, the mum found that her symptoms eased almost immediately, and she no longer requires the hysterectomy.
Since having the injections, Akane has lost three stone and has the energy to exercise and enjoy her life again.
“My menopause symptoms are nothing compared to my PMDD,” Akane said.
“At first I had an injection once a month, but now I have a stronger dose every three months and it really works for me.
“I still can’t believe that the injections have helped me so much – I had given up and accepted that I would always live a miserable life in pain.”
The NHS worker is now free of her PMDD and is enjoying her new lease of life.
Her newfound confidence has meant she’s even started dating again and is currently seeing someone.
Akane said: “My injections have completely changed my life and relationships.
“I’ve been able to start dating again and am happily seeing someone now.
“There was a time where I thought I’d never be truly happy, which is a really scary place to be in.
“So many people don’t fully understand PMDD and so can’t support their loved ones who might be suffering.
“I wanted to share my story to show other women that there are treatment options out there, and you don’t have to feel this way forever.”