12 March 2006

Understanding PMS - Blood Sugar level Problems Subsided

I have just realised why my blood sugar problems have became worse recently.

I took a B-complex vitamin and a high vitamin C with bioflavonoids on Thursday and one of each again on Friday. It was on Thursday that I had the worst of the blood sugar problems and even though I ate a lot on Friday, I still didn't feel that well. Whereas on Saturday, I decided not to take any vitamins to see if that made a difference to my symptoms - and man did it make a huge difference. I didn't have the blood sugar problems at all. Very strange.

In the past, when I have taken evening primrose oil or tyrosine or even the herbs angnes vitex and dong quai in the few days before (anywhere up to a week before) my periods, I noticed that instead of making me feel better, they actually made me feel worse - in particular, my feelings of anxiety, nervous tension, mental confusion, insomnia, irritability and irrational thoughts, many of which were not present before I took the vitamins / supplement / herbs, suddenly presented themselves with intensity. And not only did those symptoms present themselves, but actually got worse a few hours after I took the supplements!

This was really odd. Even still, I couldn't quite believe the negative effects the supplements were having on me, as they helped me in the past and are well known to be beneficial supplement that help relieve PMS. So I tried them again and again, at different times of the month as I thought that maybe so close to menstruation, my hormones were not at the right levels to accept any supplementation. I didn't know why this was so, but that is how it appeared to be.

When I tried to supplements at the start of the month, just after I completed menstruation, they appeared to help me and not produce the devastating symptoms before, but I was still experiencing side effects.

I think now, with the advantage of hindsight, that because I may have been experiencing another medical condition, that could have been the impetus for my inability to get normal relief from the usual PMS supplements. I had a slight thyroid problem, but which presented very acutely initially - I think as sub-acute thyroiditis, but the doctors couldn't diagnose me properly, even though I could feel my thyroid was swollen, as I felt the swelling at the back of my throat, like I had swallowed something that was stuck there - it caused a whole host of problems. Apparently I have two little lumps on my thyroid, which may or may not be causing me problems - which were viewed on an ultrasound when this whole thyroid problem started. I insisted on the ultrasound as I was having pains in the left side of the middle of my throat (which is exactly where the lumps are) and I felt like I couldn't swallow properly at the time and had a pain on the left side when I swallowed. I need to have these lumps monitored to ensure they stay the same size, don't grow and don't cause any problems. I am hoping they will shrink one day and go away! They're only small (only a few centimetres - less than an inch each), so it shouldn't be an issue for them to go away! The thyroid problem happened in 2003.

As I have bee under a lot of stress lately, it feels like my thyroid issues have resurfaced a little, as it feels like the left side of my throat is somewhat swollen, which always happens when I am really stressed.

The function of the thyroid is to regulate metabolism. The thyroid uses iodine and tyrosine to make the thyroid hormones. When I took tyrosine in 2003 (when my thyroid wasn't functioning particularly normally), it gave me symptoms of high anxiety and nervous tension - symptoms of hyperthyroidism, which was really odd, because when I took tyrosine years before (for PMS), it actually relaxed me (which is what it is supposed to do).

The thyroid is closely tied to the hypothalamus (which is the master gland and controls all the hormone glands in the body). If one gland is not working properly, all the rest may have issues. Interestingly, a thyroid that is not working properly can have symptoms similar to PMS, so some cases of PMS can be really be caused by thyroid problems and vice versa. Doctors are aware of this and will usually test all the hormones to work out what is causing the problems. The tests may not reveal everything that is going on, especially if these hormone studies are done when you have a problem, they could show to be within the normal range (even though they may be at the higher or lower end of the scale), the doctors will tell you everything is fine. But, if no hormone studies have been done when you were well, there is nothing to compare them with. That's why my doctor maybe realised with me, even though my test results showed as normal, maybe for me it wasn't totally normal and that's why he made the comment that my test results should not be given the most credence, that it should be my symptoms that should be given higher priority.

I still believe that I had a thyroid problem, albeit a relatively mild one (even though it did not feel very mild to me at the time) and although it has healed up for the most part, my thyroid is still something I should always be aware about and try to ensure it stays healed!

So maybe what happened in the past and what happened recently are related to my thyroid playing up. It seems to follow a very clear pattern.

The last time I had this problem, it was actually very severe and problematic and took me a long time to recover from it. I am definitely not having the same thyroid symptoms as before, so that is positive for me, but I as I am experiencing a lot of stress right now, it makes me more aware of my thyroid and makes it feel a little swollen, but not painful.

I think some yoga and exercise may be what I need right now, to calm my mind and bring some distressing to my body, which in turn will make me feel better and experience less PMS.

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