For most of my life, I thought becoming a woman involved suffering and that it was a normal process of a woman’s development. As I watched my mother endure pain and distress, which made her unavailable to be a nurturing and loving mother, it left me wondering what was wrong with her – or what was wrong with me. I never connected the dots as a young child, nor when I stepped into her shoes of menstrual pain and distress at an early age of 9. 

Finally, after a visit to the doctor’s office at 13, I was put on the pill to regulate, ease and help with my monthly cycle, only to discover that it never helped the pain. Every month I had to take time off school affecting my education and self-esteem. As time went on, this painful cycle continued into my adult years affecting my professional life. 

Most other women I met did not understand what I was going through. Colleagues, friends, influencing leaders and women with whom I shared my story made it out to be, ‘well, maybe there is something wrong with you.’ I felt alone, misunderstood and hopeless. Mentally, physically and emotionally, I was drained; every month was hard. I went through extensive gynecological tests and every test came back normal. I sincerely did not feel ‘normal’ and was totally baffled. I even had one specialist say to me, ‘maybe you just need to live a simple life by managing your stress better,’ implying it was all in my head as he continued to prescribe pain pills. 

In my 30s, I decided to dive deep into holistic health, nutrition and hormonal health and to transform my life. I started with changing my outlook, which helped to change my eating habits and behaviors. These practices allowed me to see how a step-by-step program can be so transformative. 

Seven years passed; I was living life like a ‘normal person.’ However, as I approached my 40s, I began experiencing another hormonal change. I had gone through a personal traumatic experience in my mid-30s that impacted my cycle, leaving me in the ER. Since then, I have experienced high anxiety, major irritability, sadness, appetite changes, feelings of overwhelm, lack of concentration, severe bloating, headaches, diminished interest in usual activities, self-critical thoughts and economic and social dysfunction due to the symptoms. 

As I explored premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), things began to fall into place, and my health now makes more sense than ever before. I learned not to be afraid and to question the professionals. 

This condition has not received much attention in Western medicine and I am sharing my story to let you know there is hope, and you are not alone. I want you to know that you are supported, and there are other women who can resonate with this condition. Through proactively building your body, using herbs for wellness, practicing self-love, eating healthy food and practicing Eastern health philosophies, healing is possible. I know this as I am a result of this practice. I believe with the proper support and taking responsibility for your wellness, there is a way to soothe the symptoms and make life easier to bear as we individually and collectively learn, grow and evolve. 

Dipika Patel is a certified holistic health coach and lifestyle practitioner who empowers her professional clients to activate an overall balanced lifestyle of mind, body and soul. She can be reached at (760) 821.3119 or

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