12 August 2008

PMS is over

Menstruation arrived today just after lunch and the intense emotions have also gone (for the most part). 

Interestingly, my periods came 4 weeks and 1/2 a day since last month. So obviously by not buying into the irrational thoughts of PMS must have normalised my hormones in some way and not extended PMS/PMDD (like it would have in the dark horrible past) and so my periods have come in a regular manner. 

See, mind control works! If we can control ourselves, then we can achieve so much.
No wonder I was feeling so horrible and my emotions felt totally out of control yesterday. Lucky for me I was just feeling that way, but not letting it take over, so I was able to remain calmer than I normally would feel on such an irrational day.

This month. I am going to diligently do the following to get back to having wonderful periods and no PMS again:
  • Daily self-massage of my legs mainly, but also other parts of my body that I can manage myself
  • Daily exercise for at least 30 minutes
  • Eating more regularly every day (I eat really healthily, just had not been eating regularly lately)
  • Meditation every night before I go to sleep, which will help me sleep, but will also clear and refresh my mind and make me feel calmer all month
Come back to see how I fare next month.

Pretty bad PMS

I am close to menstruation, so it means PMS is pretty bad again.

Yesterday, I was having a discussion with a family member and when they said something totally outrageous, I could literally feel the anger rising inside my head threatening to take over. It was a weird feeling, because I was calmly eating one second and the next, this intense anger just rose inside and I literally couldn't "see" anything other than the anger, which was like this wave of intense emotion , a tide of irrational and intense emotion that just grew so huge and threatened to engulf me, just all of a sudden. It was quite surreal as I was almost observing it from the outside (and thank goodness that I was), but it wasn't the observation that was real, it was the actual feelings, how quickly they formed and how badly it affected my mind.

This sudden surge of emotions was extremely difficult to control, but I did manage it. I didn't let it take over. I took a deep breath, told my family member they should look at themselves first before laughing at other people (in a rather calm manner), all without getting getting out of control. In the past such a thing may have culminated in an angry outburst, but not this time.

Because it is so close to menstruation, PMS is at its worst, so that is why a comment such as the one my female relative made got me irrationally upset. But, I can congratulate myself, because I did not allow the extreme emotions consume me and cause me to get really angry, be totally irrational, have a huge argument and feel bad about everything. After writing the previous posts, I have told myself that I need to control my PMS/PMDD because if I cannot it will literally be hell for me, like the past times when I have had bad PMS/PMDD. I will not allow myself to experience those awful feelings again!

So today, I feel a little tired, a little deflated but not angry. And every time I get any excessive emotions that come out of nowhere, I tell myself: "it is only PMS" and those emotions do go away because that is all they are - unreal, exaggerated and irrational - totally of no use to me. Because this month's PMS is entirely my fault for not doing what I should have been doing - meditation, exercise, self-massage and regularly healthy eating - I don't feel like it has come out of nowhere: I know that it is due to me.

I know some may say that you should not need to have to do all these things to get better and relieve the PMS, but the thing is, because I used to get PMS/PMDD so bad before, I need to continue the treatment (meditation, exercise, self-massage and regularly healthy eating) for at least one year (I think) before I can expect to have any major relief, where, if I am neglecting myself one month, it wont cause any bad PMS/PMDD like it did this month.My PMS/PMDD has been happening for over 10 years - I know I cannot expect a magic cure in one month. And anyway, the treatment I am proposing, is going to help me in every area of health, not just for this.

So any women reading this - seriously, if I can do it, you can too. And I have had the more serious and worse form of PMS - PMDD and I have done it without medication of any type. So that means you can too!

09 August 2008

PMS and PMDD - How I am coping today

Well I have been saying: "It's only PMS" every time I feel like crying about some silly thing or other and the feeling immediately dissipates. That's how I really know that it's not a real feeling, because when I am really upset about something then no matter what I say the feeling doesn't immediately go away. Plus, when I don't have PMS, I do not tend to get so irrational and overly emotional like now. 

It's rather interesting how I can influence my mind so much as to dissipate (and cut off before they manifest too badly) those negative emotions with just those 3 simple words - "It's only PMS". It's rather comforting to know that it is just PMS making me feel like that and not something else, because it's almost like I wave those excessive emotions away with my hand when I say, "its only PMS". 

It is really interesting how I can be feeling normal emotions one second and then I feel like crying the next second and as soon as I say those words, I go back to feeling normal again. It truly is an amazing shift and it's interesting to observe that shift of emotions and generally within a few seconds: normal -> irrational -> normal. Oh and I have stopped sighing so much today. I think it is entirely due to the fact that I have been feeling more on an even emotional level today (compared to yesterday).

And my menstruation is supposed to start in a few days, so no wonder I am getting such strong PMS now - it is so close to the start of my cycle. And I described in my previous post why it was my fault that I am experiencing rather bad PMS (probably the worst in quite a while).

So, ladies, if I can do it, so can you. It is more of a challenge to do the natural way for some women, but it does work. I have to just get back to exercising, meditation, eating more regularly and I will be fine. I think I will do a little bit of dancing today - release some of those hormones.

08 August 2008

PMS is Back With a Vengeance!

PMS is back this month with a vengeance! And it's all my fault.

It's not so much the physical symptoms (although I do have some fluid retention around my whole body and breasts), it's more the emotional symptoms that have come back. Grrr!

But it's my own fault really. I know I have to do everything I need to, in order to make myself better, but this month I have not been doing everything. I have been eating well in general, but I haven't been eating at regular times. I also have done absolutely no exercise (its freezing here and winter makes me so apathetic in terms of exercise) and I have been doing no meditation and no self-massaging. And, on top of that, I have been under some stress, which is not helping. So what else am I going to expect?

I am feeling all the classic symptoms this month so much more than usual:
  • wanting to cry
  • feeling angry
  • feeling easily irritated
  • hating everyone
  • isolating myself
  • no energy
  • very apathetic
Great set of symptoms huh? No wonder men get so scared when we utter those three letters - PMS and now PMDD.

But, what I have been doing to make myself feel better is the following:
  • When I feel any negative emotion boiling up I simply tell myself "it's only PMS" and that seems to make me feel better. If I don't know why I am feeling bad, then I usually take hold of whatever is annoying me and making it so much bigger and more horrible than it really is and then I just feel worse and worse and worse, with the negative feelings feeding on the PMS and then I fall into a pit of despair and depression, which is not helpful for me. So by telling myself that "it's only PMS" it means I am cutting off the negative emotions before they spiral out of control. It's basically a reality check I decided on trying (I don't even remember how I came to think like this) to make me realise that these negative emotions were not real (or really ultra exaggerated) and only a symptom of PMS. Seriously, it's amazing (almost magical) how well it works. Just now I started to feel like crying (for absolutely no reason whatsoever) and I told myself "its only PMS" and that emotion went. But I warn you, some days (like today), I have had to say that little phrase at least 50 times and some days it could be more, so it's that simple to get rid of the emotions as they tend to come back again and again (those hormones again), but if you persevere, I am kind of re-training my brain a little to the point where my emotions do not feel quite so out of control, as I know they will pass. If I tell myself this same phrase over and over again, it seems to help me, because it makes me realise its not me going crazily emotional over absolutely nothing, it's just PMS/PMDD

  • Whenever the irrational thoughts come into my mind, I take a big breath, take a stand back for a second and tell myself why I am being irrational with irrefutable logic, as many times as I need to, or as long as I need to in order to get my mind into being rational again. I know how hard it to rein in that negative and irrational and highly emotional thinking, but I have done it, so you can too.

    To give other women a good idea about just how irrational/highly emotional I can get and even though it is quite embarrassing, I will give examples about the seemingly silly things I get irrational about when I have PMS/PMDD, so that other women know they are in good company: (1) I went to a food court for lunch and I got so upset that I had tears in my eyes and wanted to cry so bad (I stopped the tears before they came out, but if I wasn't in such a public place, I would have bawled like a cry-baby) because one food vendor had no food without butter. I am lactose intolerant and I cannot handle dairy products. And it wasn't like there were no other food vendors around, because there were, but I just was so upset that this food vendor had no food for me, as if they hated me - I just took it so personally. Just one example of total irrationality. (2) It was Christmas one year with my family and just before everyone was due to open up their presents, I went to the toilet. When I came back everyone had already unwrapped their presents and were looking at them or playing with them - and I had only been gone about 1 minute. I got so upset that my family disregarded me that badly that I told them I hated them (I was in my early 30's and not a teenager!) and ran to my room, where I proceeded to ball my eyes out with those great hiccuping tears, rather than tell them off for being so damn impatient (like they couldn't wait one minute), like a normal person would. They had to coax me out of my room and apologise profusely before I would emerge back to the lounge room and finally open my presents. Ah yes, another embarrassing example of my extreme emotional ride at PMS time. I could go on, as there are so many more examples, but I will leave it at this for now. But suffice it to say, a lot of people around me tell me that they used to be on tenterhooks when I had PMS in the past, afraid to say anything to upset me (as basically just about everything did) - and we are talking about 2 weeks of PMS out of every 5 weeks or so that I used to have. That's pretty bad. So what I am saying here is that my tips really work.

  • I use some herbal teas to make me feel more relaxed - the one I use has chamomile, lemon balm and peppermint. It's organic (of course) and really nice. I also use to it to relax me before going to bed

  • This evening, I am going to do some meditation, as that seems to help even more than any vitamins or herbs to dissipate both the emotional symptoms, but also the physical symptoms (such as bloating)

  • I am also going to have a lovely bath with some rock salt and some lavender - that always seems to make me feel better any time

  • I really need to eat food more regularly, as that will raise my energy levels and give me less reason to feel bad

  • What I would really love, is a massage every day - as that would definitely put me in a better mood, but alas I am not wealthy enough to do that
Today is like one week prior to my periods and I am feeling the PMS (or rather PMDD) rather acutely, so I started my action plan (as above) last night and it has helped a lot. I have basically been using points 1 and 3 so far in the last day as I am still within the rational realms. I haven't had to use point 2, which is reserved for those exceedingly irrational days and hopefully this month I wont have to. The thing that is important is to cut off those negative emotions before they take hold, because if you try when they are at their worst, it is so much harder to get back to normal.

Its all about controlling your mind. Seriously. Our hormones start of in the brain, in the pituitary gland. Our hormones work very closely with our emotions and I really believe that PMS (once it does take hold, when we are not doing the proper nutrition, meditation, massage) can be controlled by your mind. I have proved it to myself time and time again. You have to tell yourself that these emotions are not real (or an exaggeration, which again means they are not real) and that you are ok. It really is that simple.

So remember (me and every other woman who reads this):
  • Cut off those negative emotions/crying/irritation/etc before they take hold
I am still sighing somewhat (really big sighs where I am trying to get some air as I am not breathing properly enough), but I don't feel so much of the negativity by relieving my mind of the PMS symptoms a little as I have listed above.

So I just wanted to show other women that no matter how bad it is, there is always something you can do to make yourself feel better - if I can then anyone can!

02 June 2008

PMS/PMDD continues to improve

Well, it's been over 2 months since my last post and I have an update on my PMS/PMDD as well as my health in general.

My periods the last two months have continued to be regular and that is really unusual for me.I
n April, my periods came 4 weeks and 1 days after my last ones and in May, my periods came exactly 4 weeks after my last ones.
This means my menstrual cycle has been incredibly regular and consistent for the last 5 months and having such regularity for many months in my menstrual cycle is totally unusual for me as my cycle has always been very unpredictable and irregular - anywhere from 28 days to about 35 days, with no regularity between one month and the next. That was before. Now, it is totally different. Now I am getting much more regularity and it is so nice to know when I am going to menstruate, as I can plan things around it. In addition to the regularity of my cycle I have also noticed that I am getting much less pain during my periods and that allows me to have a much more normal life.

PMS also is staying constant and I am not getting the symptoms that I used to get to the same level that I used to get - breast swelling and tenderness, irritability, fluid retention - I have found that these symptoms continue to be significantly reduced. In fact, last month when my breasts did start swelling a little and were a little sore (but not as sore as prior to starting this blog), I did some more meditation and the next day and until I got my periods, I had no more breast swelling or soreness. It's pretty clear that meditation helped. My moods are also more stable, even when I do get irritated, I don't get irritated to such an extreme level, now I am much more calmer.

In addition to this, I noticed I have been feeling really tired lately and when I got a blood test it showed that I have
iron deficiency, that my iron stores are very low. My doctor suggested that this could be due to my heavy menstruation. This is right, as I do menstruate quite heavily for the first three days of my periods and the challenge of having such regular menstruation for me now is that I am menstruating more than before, so I am losing a lot more blood than before and I hadn't been eating enough iron-rich foods to replenish my iron levels. Due to this iron deficiency, I have been eating a lot more meat and particularly liver (which I find totally disgusting, but it's more palatable when I mix it with chicken and lots of vegetables) and as liver is one of the richest sources of iron (as well as other vital nutrients such as selenium, vitamin B12 and vitamin A). I also eat some food rich in vitamin C with the meat, as it helps the iron get better absorbed and I have noticed a major improvement in the reduction of my tiredness within only a few days.
Food is medicine!!

21 March 2008

Alas, PMS Here Again

I must say that PMS while not as severe as it has been in the past, was a problem this month.

I can only guess that it was because I did not exercise much (I was sick from a really bad cases of sinusitis, that progressed to be a flu-like infection), which also meant I did not do much meditation, nor did I do any of the detox massage. I did though, eat very well, with 99% of my food intake being from a natural (and usually organic) source and all home-made. But obviously food intake is not enough for me (or others like me).

Quite obviously I need to continue with my self-healing strategies (exercise, good nutrition, detox massage, meditation) for a number of months before I will feel more longer-lasting effects. It is normal to have to do this for a number of months, because realistically, it took a long time to get my body to this state and it will take some time to get it back to normal health, which I am quite prepared to engage all my strength in order to make it happen.

My symptoms this month
  • Quite painful breasts for a number of days prior to menstruation
  • Some level of bloating at PMS
  • Relatively little emotional symptoms at PMS (in comparison to normal)
  • Very severe emotional symptoms (anger, irritation, crying) on day 3 of menstruation
  • Quite bloated abdomen for 1.5 days of menstruation
  • Severe dizziness and feeling like I wanted to pass out on day 2 of menstruation
The doctors think I also had a ovarian cyst that burst around mid-cycle of this menstrual cycle and this is because I was in excruciating pain which centred around the ovaries and especially the left one at that time. The pain was so bad that I was advised to go to the hospital where they gave me morphine for the pain. Needless to say, not the best 2-3 weeks of late.

It seems that I still have a lot of work to do in terms of regulating my menstrual cycle. Even just today and last night when I did some stretching and meditation, my menstrual symptoms (severe bloating of my abdominal area) eased quite a lot, which is a good thing.

I know there are plenty of women like me, who know they need to do something to help ease their symptoms but may be at a loss as to the natural strategies they can use.

I will keep you all updated on the progress during the month, of all the things I am doing to get my gynaecological health back to normal.

27 February 2008

Regulated Menstrual Cycle

One more thing I forgot to mention in the previous post was that this month, my cycle was exactly 29 days, to the hour!

Last month my periods started at 7pm, this month, they started at 7pm 29 days later. That has never happened before!

Normally my periods are so irregular that I have no clue when my next menstrual cycle will start. Always in the past, my periods would start at any time and I wouldn't know when. I would always know when it's 28 days after my last cycle, but my menstrual cycle could occur anywhere from about 29 days to 35 days and I wouldn't know when. I just had to keep a pad or panty liner in my bag from day 28, just in case. Sometimes I got caught, when I took the pad/panty liner with me for a whole week and they didn't start, then I decided not to take anything with me to school/uni/work one day and that's the day that my menstrual cycle would start.

So to have my periods become this regular is amazing!

Hopefully this means that my cycle will be more regular from now on and pain free! Yipee!!

26 February 2008

Wonderful PMS and Menstruation This Month

What a surprise this month's PMS has been.

Let me just recap on the symptoms I normally experience for about 2 weeks each month. with symptoms the worst in the last few days before menstruation and the absolute and utter worst the day to two days before menstruation (yes, I am not kidding here)!!
  • Severe bloating of the whole body (about 1-2kg)
  • Sore, painful breasts (cant hug anyone as they are too sore)
  • Very tired and lethargic
  • Seriously cranky with major mood fluctuations
  • Feeling emotional and crying for no reason
  • Very irritable
  • Headache
  • Blood sugar level fluctuations and craving sweet foods
  • Insomnia
  • Severe confusion and forgetfulness
This is basically all of the symptoms a woman can have prior to menstruation.

Some months when my menstrual cycle has been very erratic and long (6 weeks or so between menstrual cycles), PMS was then extended to 4 weeks - this was basically hell because all my symptoms were completely exaggerated and severe for 4 whole weeks! Imagine how horrible that would be?

Now this month, because I have been eating so well, exercising and doing the detoxification, my symptoms were unbelievably minimal in PMS. This is a list of the symptoms I experienced this month at PMS:
  • Some bloating (but nowhere near as much as normal)
  • Bloated breasts, but not painful at all
  • Slightly irritable only the day before menstruation started

Yes, that is it! That was the extent of my PMS! Now for someone who normally experiences really severe PMS, to have such a normal mental and physical time prior to menstruation is wonderful, absolutely wonderful!

This has been the best PMS of my life - because it basically was not PMS. But not only that, my periods this month were absolute bliss! I had no pain this month.

Now that in itself is pretty amazing, as I am normally in excruciating pain that all I can do is just lie down and try to relieve it in whatever way I can. Drugs normally just take the edge off the pain for maybe 1 hour or so and that is no relief when you can only take medication every 4-6 hours! I had given up on the medication (Naprogesic, Ponstan) for period pain, as it does nothing for me and my pain.

To have a month where I felt absolutely no pain or discomfort whatsoever, without any medication, is truly amazing! I used to be in awe of those friends/acquaintance who would tell me that they hardly noticed they were menstruating. I always knew I was menstruating, the pain I was in for about 3-4 days of my periods always made sure of that! But this month, I was only of those women who hardly noticed they were menstruating! Pure bliss!!

Now, I shall continue to eat the same way I have been eating (healthy food, but not denying myself things like organic dark chocolate or some ice cream a few times a week), exercising, detoxifying with the massaging and meditating. I will continue with all these techniques and see how my PMS and period pain is next month - hopefully it will continue to be bliss.

The other exciting thing I need to mention is that my cycle was exactly 29 days, to the hour this month! Last month my periods started at 7pm, this month, they started at 7pm 29 days later. That has never happened before! Normally my menstrual cycle ranges anywhere from 29 - 45 days, with an average of about 31-32 days between my periods. So to have my periods be this regular, is truly an amazing gift!! Wonderful!! Hopefully this means that my cycle will be more regular from now on and pain free! Yipee!!

Thank goodness for the lovely relief this month!! I really hope it will continue next month and beyond!

11 February 2008

Breakfast Helps to Reduce PMS/PMDD Symptoms

This morning, I had the most delicious breakfast ever:
  • Organic brown olive bread with a little bit of virgin olive oil on top
  • 2 boiled organic and free range eggs
  • Organic banana and peach salad with (non-organic) yoghurt and crushed pecans
The bread with olive oil was an essential item for this morning, because when a woman has PMS, she needs to have more essential fatty acids in her diet and I think I need a lot more, as I do not eat butter, margarine or much fats other than olive oil (or sometimes the bad fats from junk food, but I try to avoid those for the most part, now). The yoghurt was also a fantastic item because it is a given that calcium levels in women seem to drop just before menstruation. Plus calcium is great for women due to its protective activity against osteoporosis.

The essential fatty acids are great for the brain cells, which in essence, controls everything that happens in the body. If your brain is functioning properly, it could be that there is less likelihood that PMS can happen. You see, inside the brain is the master gland of the endocrine system, that controls all the hormone secretions in the body - the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland is responsible for releasing a hormone that stimulates the hormone synthesis in the reproductive system - follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH), which in turn cause ovulation and then stimulate the synthesis and secretion of oestrogen (oestradiol) and progesterone.

The synthesis and secretion of the different types of hormones from the pituitary gland to the ovaries occurs in a complicated process, which if any part of it does not function correctly, could cause an imbalance of hormones and in some women, even if it is slightly imbalanced, could be the reason for PMS (and PMDD).

Scientists have many theories about what causes PMS, but they do not have a definitive answer yet. While they propose their various theories, women should just know that the following will definitely have an effect on them regarding PMS (and PMDD):

Diet plays a direct role in not just PMS (and PMDD), but in overall health. If you are not getting enough of the right nutrients, then your health will suffer. It really is just that simple.

You need to exercise to enable correct circulation in the body - this may have some definite impacts on the way that the hormones are circulated in the body. After all, the pituitary gland is in the head and the blood needs to transport the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinising hormone (LH) to the ovaries, which is quite a long distance away. If the circulatory system is not working correctly, this could impact the amount of hormones that are sent to the ovaries.

In addition to this, exercise reduces fat, increase muscle tone, increases metabolism and release endorphins, which are "feel-good" hormones - what better way to counteract the "feel-bad" times of PMS?

Reducing exposure to chemical xenoeostrogen toxins
Reducing your exposure to these chemicals (phthalates and Bisphenol A), which mimic oestrogen and disrupt hormone function in the body, means that there is less likelihood for PMS. These chemicals are toxic to the body as they are stored (when ingested or breathed in) in the fat cells and women have fat cells in the breasts, which due to the oestrogen-like activity of these chemicals increases the risk of breast cancer!

So not only do these chemicals (phthalates and Bisphenol A) interfere with the body's natural hormone production, but they are implicated in female cancers too.

How do you reduce your risk of these chemicals? Stay away from using plastics in your kitchen. Do not heat anything in the microwave with plastics - that means no plastic containers, no plastic cling (or saran) wrap, do not warm baby plastic bottles. Try to drink from ceramic or glass, warm up food in glass, ceramic, iron or stainless steel containers (but do not use the metals in the microwave - only glass or ceramic, but ensure they are microwave-safe).

Reduce stress
Stress at any time is bad for the body, but if you have an illness or health condition, it just makes it feel so much worse.

Ways to reduce stress - meditation, yoga, tai chi, visualisation - just take at least 15 minutes each day to feel better, wind down and relax.

09 February 2008

Healthy Foods to Help Reduce PMS/PMDD Symptoms

This evening I made quite a gourmet meal for myself and the family. The food was extremely filling and totally sumptuous (if I do say so myself).

I am following the diet strategies I have laid out on this site.

I made the following:
  • Baked organic chicken with herbs
  • Organic brown rice - boiled
  • Chickpea, kidney bean, tomato and red onion salad (all organic) - with some olive oil, tiny bit of balsamic vinegar and sweet paprika as the dressing
  • Organic garden salad - with cos lettuce, mignonette lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes (from our garden)
  • Onion, okra and gourmet mushroom sauce - made with wholemeal spelt flour, water, oil, herbs and salt
Sounds like a lot of food, but when you eat just a little of each food, the meal is just perfect. I had a few pecans and a few small pieces of pineapple (both organic) about an hour later.

Now, first let me say that this meal was so unbelievably delicious. It's probably because I made it with organic ingredients, which always have more flavour and partly because I was absolutely starving by the time we ate. None of the above were from any recipe books - I came up with each item myself. Nothing was very difficult to make anyway.

The interesting thing to note, is that again my teeth felt whiter after the meal and I had a lot more energy after the meal. Even though it felt like a lot of food, I don't feel bloated and full after the meal. I shall try to incorporate more legumes into my meals, more times in the week and also mushrooms too, as they have a lot of essential nutrients and antioxidant properties. Very good to eat at any time.

In regards to PMS
I am officially in PMS mode at the moment, as my ability to not get so easily irritated is just a tiny bit compromised.

But, because I am eating much better (very little processed food, mostly natural food), exercising, massaging my legs and meditating, I have found that I feel okay. So this is quite nice.

On a side note, I am not even taking any herbs, vitamins or other supplements at the moment, so to feel okay without taking anything is pretty good. It's very indicative of what a good diet, exercise, fresh air and less stress can do for a person - makes PMS better.

Since this is working so well for me, I shall continue doing it for the foreseeable future.

Some detoxification

I have decided to start detoxifying the fat around my thighs and behind (where most women have some fat deposits) by using a hand-held massage unit. Basically I use it for about 10 minutes on each leg (front and back), massaging every bit of my upper and lower legs:
  • from the top of my foot to the point where my leg joins my torso and
  • at the back, from the ankle to the start of the lower back
I make sure I massage every part of my legs really well and always massage upwards, towards the heart.

This has the effect of stimulating the lymphatic system to remove any toxins that have built up in the fat cells (as that is where they are stored) and detoxify them through the liver and excrete all toxins through the urine.

If there is too much oestrogen stored in the liver (which is also a problem for many women with PMS and PMDD), this massage stimulation should help to get rid of that in a safe and effective manner too.

The great thing about this massage I am giving myself, is that it not only stimulates the lymphatic system, it also stimulates the circulatory system and ensures that my circulation is working properly in my legs. By increasing circulation (especially since mine is not exactly great in my legs - they are always cold) and increasing lymphatic draining, it means I am increasing the the rate of toxin removal from my system and ensuring that my veins and arteries (and capillaries) are working properly. It also means that I will be at less risk for varicose veins, which are a problem for a lot of women, older women especially, but also for younger women too.

I know this massage therapy I have embarked upon is working, because a little time after I have completed the massage, I need to pass some urine, even though I have not had any liquids to drink in the intervening time after the massage. This is a really good sign. It means that the massage therapy is working exactly as I have described above.

I will gradually increase the amount I massage my legs each day - I started with 5 minutes each leg and now I am at 10 minutes each leg.

I aim to make it about 30 minutes each leg, which I shall continue for about 30 days at that length of time (each day).

After this, I will reduce it to 30 minutes every two days.

I will gradually taper it off to about 15 minutes each leg about once a week or once every two weeks.

I hope this is another item of assistance not just for PMS, but also for my good health!

08 February 2008

Interesting effects of some foods

The day before yesterday I made a vegetarian meal for dinner, as I didn't feel like eating meat (and besides, I don't think there was any in the fridge). This is all part of the healthy eating plan I have devised, for my return to health and alleviation of all things relating to PMS.

I made a meal that was a complete protein, so it contained all the 9 essential amino acids, which means it is basically the same as eating meat in terms of amino acid components.

The meal I made had brown rice, red lentils, chickpeas and some vegetables. Not only was it delicious, but it was so good for me. It had wholegrains (the brown rice), legumes (chickpeas and lentils) and lots of vegetables which have proven antioxidant properties. I felt very sated after I finished eating a bowl of this natural food goodness!

Now the really interesting thing is, after eating a bowl of this food, my teeth become much white, as if I have just brushed them! Either there is a lot of calcium in those foods that my teeth are just loving or the fact that the grains/legumes are almost nutty in texture (that is, still whole and not mushy) maybe the very act of eating them caused an almost brushing like effect on my teeth.

I know this was not a weird one-off quirk, because every time I had a bowl of this vegetarian food my teeth would glisten afterwards! How amazing is that? Not only does this food do me much good health-wise, but it also is fantastic for my teeth.

I just had to post this, because it may help other women.

05 February 2008

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 5: PMDD is Not a Mental Disorder

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 5):

5. PMDD is not a mental disorder
While the drug companies would love you to believe this and they package their products (antidepressant drugs) in lovely pink, to appeal to women, making sweet commercials with strong women frolicking, being happy - let me tell you the truth.

Young girls are being prescribed these antidepressant drugs for PMDD. But, medical professional know that antidepressants cause a higher risk of suicide for adolescents. There is a warning on all antidepressants basically stating this fact.

We want a quick fix for our health problems and the drug companies are well aware of this, so they market antidepressants to be taken for 2 weeks prior to menstruation (after ovulation) and in some cases, all month long. Research has shown that PMDD symptoms decrease when women take the antidepressants, but the results usually don't happen until a few months after taking the antidepressants. The best results seen so far for reducing PMDD are the selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which enable more serotonin, a neurotransmitter, to remain in the brain, thereby reducing negative emotional symptoms of PMDD (or even PMS). The most common antidepressant drugs used for PMDD are - paxil, prozac, zoloft.

PMDD is a condition of sorts, but it does not need the medication some medical experts tell us it needs. PMDD is basically the worse type of PMS - extreme form of symptoms of PMS, especially the emotional and mental symptoms.

The symptoms of PMDD can include any of the following:
  • Mood swings
  • Depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness
  • Marked anger, increased interpersonal conflicts
  • Tension and anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Decreased interest in usual activities
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling out of control or overwhelmed
  • Sleep problems
  • Physical problems, such as bloating, swollen breasts, headache, joint/muscle pain
To manage PMDD (and even PMS) you need to manage the following areas - diet modification, engaging in regular exercise, reducing stress levels and eliminating toxic chemicals from your life.

In order to make changes in all these area, you will need to be extremely diligent and focused. You have to continue to make these changes for several months before you start to notice a difference. This is not a magic pill cure for PMS/PMDD - this is a way to manage your life so that you become healthier, fitter and less likely to suffer the effects of PMS/PMDD.

Once you embark on this way of life, expect all areas of your health to improve, energy and concentration levels to increase and your mental disposition to become more positive.

Remember, PMS and PMDD are not a life sentence to mental instability for your life - you can break free, but only if you want to make some healthy changes to help yourself!

Be well with good health.

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 4: Toxic Chemicals

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 4):

4. Toxic chemicals
There are many chemicals produced today which have a very negative effect on women's hormones. Certain chemicals in plastics have an oestrogenic effect on women and especially affect areas such as the breasts, because these chemicals are stored in fat deposits. The chemical in questions are basically xenoestrogens - named this way because of their oestrogen-like activity. The main culprits are phthalates and Bisphenol A.

These two chemicals are used in the following:

  • adhesives
  • computers
  • electronics (such as the iPhone)
  • nail polish
  • paint pigments
  • plastic of all types - plastic drink bottles, baby teats, baby bottles, plastic take-away containers, plastic cookware for microwaves, plastic cling wrap
  • soft plastic fishing lures
The list of products that contain these chemicals is quite long and that means exposure to these chemicals on a daily basis can be really high for some women.

The other important thing to note is that these chemicals are implicated in breast cancer, due to their hormone-like oestrogenic activity and that they stored in fat deposits in the body. Another reason to keep away from these chemicals.

Many studies have shown that phthalates and Bisphenol A have a variety of detrimental health effects to the body, especially to women and young children. These detrimental effect of these chemicals is even more potent when they are heated.

Consider ways you can reduce your exposure to some of these products to reduce their effect on you and your PMS or PMDD may decrease in like.

Bottom line - stay away from plastics as much as possible and don't use any type of plastic to heat up food.

Update: A recent study by the University of Cincinnati have advised that when plastic (polycarbonate) bottles are heated up, they release more Bisphenol A into the liquid inside the bottles.

This means that if you leave bottles in cars on hot days and drink the liquid, you are drinking more of the Bisphenol A chemical - which has proven oestrogen-like activity in the body, but in a very detrimental way. It is definitely a chemical that women who get PMS or PMDD should stay away from (there are even implications that these toxic chemicals play a part in female hormone cancers, so women should be extra careful).

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 3: Lack of Exercise

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 3):

3. Lack of Exercise
The body is made to move. All the muscles in the body need to be conditioned on a daily basis. If you do not move, the muscles do not work properly and the body becomes sluggish and unable to function effectively. This is fact.

In order to ensure circulation is working properly, the body needs to be conditioned by exercise each day. The lymphatic system and circulatory system are very dependent on movement. If there is no movement, there is stagnation. If there is stagnation in the body, certain areas are not working properly and this means the hormones are not circulated correctly, the nutrients are not absorbed properly and stress levels increase.

A few preliminary studies have found that regular exercise can ease some of the pain and stress due to PMS. In one trial, researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver had eight previously sedentary women work up to running 12 miles per week over six months. At the end of the study, the runners reported less breast tenderness, bloating, and moodiness before their periods.

At this stage, no studies have been done to determine if exercise helps with PMDD, but I assert that if exercise is part of a whole change in diet, lifestyle and stress reduction, it will dramatically reduce PMDD. I hope to be proved right (and vindicated) by some clinical studies in this area.

Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress. Exercise releases endorphins (feel good hormones) which lighten you mood and reduce levels of stress hormones.

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 2: Stress

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 2):

2. Stress

Stress, especially if it is unmitigated and occurs long-term, is devastating to the body's health equilibrium. When stress occurs, the body prepares itself by activating the "flight or fight" hormones, which is the way the body reacts when faced with danger, real or imagined.

Now if the body is in a constant state of stress, these stress hormones (produced by the adrenal glands which are located on top of the kidneys) produce various effects on the body such as the following:
  • Increase of sodium and chloride retention and water re-absorption (basically fluid retention)
  • Increased excretion of potassium, which causes blood pressure to rise
  • Increase in glucose levels, to fuel the muscles for "flight or fight"
  • Increased use of amino acids and fats
  • Decreased immunity
  • Formation of other steroid hormones, such as oestrogen (an increase is oestrogen is part of the reason why experts think women get PMS, as progesterone is reduced in comparison, so the levels of these two hormones become askew)
Basically if the body is in constant state of stress, there is a decreased level of many nutrients as the body uses them to prepare to either get away from the dangerous situation or stay and fight. But with stress, if it is continuing, there is no getting away from it and the health of the person suffers as a consequence.

It is much more preferable to reduce stress revels and reduce the negative effects on the body that this has, especially where PMS and PMDD is concerned.

PMS and PMDD Causes - Part 1: Nutritional Deficiencies

Researchers state that there is no real known reason why PMS (or PMDD) occurs in some women and not in others. Let me tell you what I think why PMS (and PMDD) occurs (part 1):

1. Nutritional deficiencies
Diet is fundamental to good health. That is the bottom line. If you do not get enough of natural, unprocessed foods, you are doing yourself a total disservice in terms of your health.

If your diet is basically composed of a great deal of processed foods (anything you buy from a store that you do no cook yourself) and you have a lack of fresh vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, seeds, nuts, oily fish such as salmon, trout, then your diet will be deficient in many vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino acids). No amount of supplements will correct this - on one hand you are effectively ensuring your body becomes inflamed and deficient from various nutrients and on the other hand, you try to balance this with supplements, when you need the whole foods for your health.

You need to eat the following foods to maintain good health and to help your body get back to optimal health:
  • Vegetables - 7 servings each day and at least 3 of these servings should be dark, green or dark red leafy vegetables (different types of lettuce, kale, spinach, sorrel, broccoli, watercress)
  • Fruit - 5 servings each day and try to make sure you eat lots of brightly coloured or dark coloured fruits, such as blueberries, raspberries, dark purple grapes, acai berries, cherries
  • Wholegrains - 3-5 servings each day and this means not just bread, but cereals, pasta and noodles too (just make sure they are not saturated with sugar)
  • Legumes - 1-2 servings each day, this means all types of beans, such as lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Fish - 3-4 servings per week of the oily variety, such as salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, but just make sure you buy the fish labelled as "wild" or "deep ocean" because these fish will have the most nutrients and are less likely to be tainted by heavy metals such as mercury and lead
  • Meat - 3 servings per week and only organic, because the non-organic varieties have various chemicals and hormones injected into them, which interfere with your own hormone production and can exacerbate PMS and PMDD
  • Nuts & seeds - 2-3 servings per day and try to use organic, raw nuts, unsalted as they provide the most nutrients
You need to eliminate the following foods (or at least severely restrict them):
  • Alcohol - too much alcohol has a detrimental effect on the body and is not useful when you have PMS or PMDD
  • Sugar - many women with PMS and PMDD experience variations in their blood glucose levels and an excess of sugar will make the blood sugar levels spike quickly and fall dramatically, which has a detrimental effect on insulin levels, which are pumped out at great levels to reduce blood glucose levels - eating less foods high in sugar and more natural foods will keep blood sugar levels on an even level and this means that there will be less of an issue prior to menstruation, including a curbing of sugar cravings, which many women also experience at PMS time
  • Processed foods - any type of food that comes in a packet (other than raw nuts and seeds)
  • Take-away foods - any type of meal you buy from a take-away store
  • Salt - try to decrease it in your meal, use herbs and spices instead and try to use organic sea salt, which has more minerals in it than normal processed salt
The essential fatty acids in oily fish as well as the nuts and seeds are vital for women suffering from PMS and PMDD. Studies have shown that this essential nutrients is necessary as they are precursors of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances that affect women when they have PMS and PMDD. The B vitamins, which are abundant in good quality meat and wholegrains are necessary for women suffering this condition, as they help to reduce symptoms. The magnesium found in many whole foods is a natural muscle relaxant.

02 February 2008

Severe PMS Could Mean a Depressed Nervous System

New findings published by the BioPsychoSocial Medicine journal suggests that not only is PMS tied to decreased nerve activity each month, but also that those with extreme symptoms may have a permanently depressed nervous system.

A team of Japanese researchers investigated if the autonomic nervous system (which plays a vital role in equilibrium within the human body), changed during the menstrual cycle. The team measured variations in heart rate and hormone levels and used questionnaires to evaluate physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms of 62 women's menstrual cycles. A control group who experienced little or no PMS was used to compare the results.

The findings of the research discovered that the women with PMS had significantly decreased autonomic and parasympathetic nerve activity in the week before menstruation and the women with the most severe PMS (known as PMDD - premenstrual dysphoric disorder) has the most reduced rates of nerve activity than any women in the PMS or control groups.

The lead researcher, Dr Tamaki Matsumoto from the International Buddhist University in Osaka said, "Our findings indicate that the occurrence of premenstrual symptomatology could be attributable to an altered functioning of the autonomic nervous system in the symptomatic late luteal phase." For women with PMDD, findings indicate that sympathovagal activity was altered even in the follicular phase. Matsumoto asked: "Does this imply that women with lower autonomic function regardless of the menstrual cycle are vulnerable to more severe premenstrual disorders? At the moment, the underlying biomechanisms of PMS remain enigmatic."

PMS happens in the days before menstruation (but can last as much as two weeks or longer, from ovulation until menstruation) and basically most women will experience some form of PMS at some point in their reproductive life.

BioMed Central (2007, December 20). Bad PMS May Mean A Depressed Nervous System. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2007/12/071219202940.htm

29 January 2008

PMS Update

It has been over a year since I have posted anything to this blog and that is because I have been busy! No excuse, but that's what it is.

In regards to PMS, I have discovered that a combination of vitamins, nutrients and lots of exercise does help.

In addition this, stress-relief is mandatory. I try to do about 15minutes of meditation each night. This is really great, as it helps to improve my stress levels in general, which in turn help me to feel better and lessen the hold that PMS may have on me.

Lately I have been exercising for about 1 hour each day - this includes a lot of fat burning exercises, plus some toning and stretching. I have started this diligent exercise plan since my last menstruation ended and it should be interesting to note how it affects my PMS next month.