Scots woman thanks Loose Women after watching show helped her recognise frightening health symptoms

Nursing student Stephanie Gray, 30, knew she was suffering with PMDD when her mum first heard the symptoms on ITV's Loose Women (Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS)
-Credit: (Image: (Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS))

A Scots student who didn't know what was wrong with her claims an episode of Loose Woman her mum watched 'saved' her life.

Stephanie Gray, a nursing student from Edinburgh, received a life-changing diagnosis after she struggled to get doctors to take her symptoms seriously.

The 30-year-old was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) after years of struggling with suicidal thoughts, mood swings and severe depression each month before her period, reports Edinburgh Live.

She revealed she felt suicidal every month just before her period - adding that it took years for her symptoms to be taken seriously.

Whilst studying at the University of Dundee, Stephanie attempted suicide at the age of 19, after symptoms increased in severity - causing her to seek help.

"The most problematic symptom was the constant mood swings," Stephanie said.

"I was becoming suicidal every month before my period arrived. I'd shift from relatively normal life to being suicidal, and that happened every single month without fail."

"I was very temperamental I could fly off the handle very easily at certain times of the month. The week leading up to my period, I don't think I was a very nice person to be around."

"Luckily, I have a good support system around me, and I lived at home at the time, and we braced for it. I made it out, but it would just make it harder to face it again the next month."

Stephanie sought therapy and was put on antidepressants, but her symptoms continued.

Her family were left terrified and desperate for answers - until Stephanie's mum Loraine heard Denise Welch discussing her experiences with PMDD on an episode of Loose Women.

Loraine matched the symptoms that the ITV panellist explained, telling Stephanie, who immediately recognised her own experience in Denise's story.

She quickly shared the news with her psychiatric nurse, who she claimed quickly dismissed her theory - starting a year-long process of obtaining a diagnosis.

Stephanie speaks out about her condition in the hopes other women do not end up being dismissed by medics like she was -Credit:(Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS)
Stephanie speaks out about her condition in the hopes other women do not end up being dismissed by medics like she was -Credit:(Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS)

Stephanie recalled: "I remember going to the nurse and saying that that sounds like me, this explains everything and makes so much sense. She didn't laugh, but she smirked, and told me it wasn't possible that my hormones can't affect me that much."

"I didn't really understand why she'd just brushed me off. It frustrated me, but I was so ill at the time that I think I was indifferent. I was still so ill that I didn't have hope anyway. I think it affected my family more because they really thought the professionals would listen and at least investigate a little bit."

Stepanie and her mum quickly searched across the country for a doctor who would finally take her symptoms seriously.

Following years of questions, she found a sexual health clinic in Edinburgh that helped her get an official diagnosis of PMDD and prescribed her a combined contraceptive pill to help manage her symptoms.

She said: "The first line of treatment thankfully worked for me. It's a combined contraceptive pill, and that thankfully worked for me alongside different lifestyle changes. I'm really lucky, because a lot of women end up having to have a hysterectomy to attempt to improve their symptoms."

Stephanie hopes her by sharing her story, she will help to raise awareness of PMDD, and encourages people to take the condition seriously.

She said that she was "already at breaking point" as she fought for a diagnosis.

Stephanie said: "When people think you're just being crazy or dramatic and when even professionals don't listen to you it's a really dark place. It ruled the majority of my life. Every day was a struggle for a good few years."

"After my diagnosis, there was a lot of relief. I'd found out a lot more about PMDD and met other people who had it as well. There was a lot of relief in talking to them. I started to feel more like myself I wasn't crazy, I wasn't a lost cause."

"This is a real condition, and you can get better. I had a lot of hope, and then I went through the grieving process. What would have happened if I'd been diagnosed earlier as a teenager? Would my life look any different? Would my relationships have been different?"

"There were a lot of mixed emotions, but in general, my diagnosis has led to me growing as a person and knowing myself. The symptoms are so serious and so debilitating, and people are going so long being undiagnosed and misdiagnosed."

"I'm a student nurse, and I've seen how although professionals are more aware of PMDD now, the treatments and awareness are lacking. My experience definitely gave me a direction it lit a fire in my soul to want to be able to help women and help improve the healthcare we provide for women."

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a health problem that is similar to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but is more serious. PMDD causes severe irritability, depression, or anxiety in the week or two before your period starts.

Stephanie knew what condition was giving her suicidal thoughts and severe depression each month before her period after an episode of ITV's Loose Women (Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS)
Stephanie knew what condition was giving her suicidal thoughts and severe depression each month before her period after an episode of ITV's Loose Women -Credit: (Image: Stephanie Gray SWNS)

Symptoms usually go away two to three days after your period starts. You may need medicine or other treatment to help with your symptoms, which can include:

Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any of these:

  • Lasting irritability or anger that may affect other people

  • Feelings of sadness or despair, or even thoughts of suicide

  • Feelings of tension or anxiety

  • Panic attacks

  • Mood swings or crying often

  • Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships

  • Trouble thinking or focusing

  • Tiredness or low energy

  • Food cravings or binge eating

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Feeling out of control

  • Physical symptoms, such as cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain

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