Mother-of-two whose PMS became so extreme she took an overdose is cured of her crippling symptoms after having a full hysterectomy

October 22, 2018  22:00

A mother-of-two whose PMS became so extreme that she took an overdose has been cured after having a full hysterectomy.

Natalie Raeside suffered extreme premenstrual rage before every period for almost a decade after the birth of her daughter Jessica.

The charity worker nearly lost her job after suffering a fit of rage in the office as the condition transformed her into a 'Jekyll and Hyde' monster every month.

Mrs Raeside, of Ilkley, West Yorkshire, resorted to having a hysterectomy at just 40, to combat her PMDD, or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder.

And since undergoing the operation in August, her symptoms have vanished and she is once again able to enjoy life without any fear of what is around the corner.

Speaking about her battle with the condition for the first time, she said: 'The lack of control I had over my body was overwhelming.

'For the first time in my life now, I feel like I have control over my body because those ovaries and hormones are gone.

'It was the biggest feeling of relief, I couldn't wait to have the operation. I feel very lucky that I was able to access help privately as many women cannot.

'It's really important that I get across that I'm a really happy woman normally, I enjoy my life.

'I've got healthy kids, a husband, a successful career and amazing friends. From the outside, people would wonder what I have to be down about.

'To try and then explain that you feel suicidal and think about taking overdoses just because it's coming up to your period, it's very difficult to understand.'

Mrs Raeside would find herself crying in the work toilets regularly and her periods became very heavy and painful.

Baffled doctors treated her for depression, putting her on antidepressants, but the outgoing mother knew she hadn't received the right diagnosis.

Eventually, after researching online, Mrs Raeside discovered her mood swings could be due to PMDD, an extreme form of premenstrual syndrome.

Last November, Mrs Raeside asked to be referred to a specialist clinic after learning about it on a Facebook group.

Within weeks, she had her uterus removed after her surgeon cautioned against a full hysterectomy.

But her symptoms got worse and Mrs Raeside once found herself taking an overdose after dropping her kids off at school.

She said: 'Obviously once I'd had my uterus removed, I wasn't having periods but my body was still in the same cycle.

'And actually, after the operation, my symptoms got worse. I can't explain that because I'm not a doctor but I'm not sure they can explain it either.

'When I took an overdose, nothing had happened particularly in the day. I was experiencing worse symptoms but I surprised myself.

'I don't remember getting up to the sofa and going through the cabinet where the tablets were.

'Something in my head just said that I cannot do it anymore. I called a friend who rang an ambulance.

'After I was discharged the day after, I rang the GP and told her what happened. She asked me what's going on and I told her I couldn't cope with it anymore.

'Then within days, I was back at the consultant arranging to have the full hysterectomy.'

Most women with PMS find their symptoms uncomfortable, however, some have symptoms severe enough to stop them living their normal lives.

The condition - which strikes around one in 20 women in the UK - causes women to suffer from anxiety, severe depression and tension before their period.

Some symptoms are physical, including extreme tiredness, bloating, night sweats, hot flushes and an inability to sleep.

Although it is prevalent, many are wrongly diagnosed as suffering from illnesses such as bipolar disorder, postnatal depression and severe anxiety.

For Mrs Raeside, who had never struggled with depression or PMDD before the birth of her second child, the symptoms were a real shock.

She said: 'When it was really awful, I would feel like my blood was boiling. I became so angry at everything and I wasn't acting like myself.

'My family were being affected by it massively. My husband Archie and children are wonderful and yet I'd find myself getting annoyed at things.

'It makes you feel like you're two people, it really is that bad.'

And when it was at its worst, Mrs Raeside isolated herself, over fears that her actions might lead to the breakdown of her family.

Mrs Raeside, who works part time and has Jessica, eight, and Cameron, 10, started suffering from the symptoms in 2010 after her daughter was born.

She said: 'Before that my periods were normal, any PMT was the norm. I maybe got a bit tearful the day before, that was about it.

'So after the birth of my daughter, I had a bit of postnatal depression and I had to be put on antidepressants because of that.

'But it sort of gradually became clear that the symptoms were starting around the time of my period.

'And that at the beginning of my cycle, I would feel absolutely fine and then it would just switch.'

Mrs Raeside followed medical advice to change her diet, exercise more and practice meditation, but nothing changed how she felt.

She said: 'Looking back now, I really really struggled for four or five years, it gradually became worse.

'At the time I just got on it. I had two small children to look after and because I had been diagnosed with bad PMT, I just accepted it.

'I had been going to my GP for visit after visit after visit. I would ring her in tears. She was really patient, she's been really excellent with me.

'But I can remember three occasions where I've rung my GP in desperation, crying down the phone.

'And what they did at that point was suggest counselling, suggest increasing level of antidepressants, just to see whether that made a difference. But it never did.'

Laura Murphy, co-founder of Vicious Cycles, which promotes awareness of PMDD, said Mrs Raeside's struggle to have her condition recognised was not unusual.

She said: 'There's a lot more recognition but actually a great deal more needs to be done.

'People like Natalie who come out and talk about their condition are really brave as it helps more people understand what is going on.

'PMDD affects one in 20 women, but currently, it has not got the recognition that it needs.

'Anyone who thinks they may think they're affected by PMDD, I recommend they first visit the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders.'

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