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.