30 March 2013

Exaggerated Emotions During PMS

I have recently come to the conclusion that the exaggerated emotions I experience during PMS (albeit only for 1-2 days now, at most) are unresolved emotions that I struggle with during the month.

I know this, because I get angry about things that I normal sweep aside during the rest of the month.

PMS just amplifies whatever it is I am feeling, but have not really dealt with or resolved. So, at times during the 1-2 days where I do experience PMS now, those unresolved feelings come very strongly to the fore in a very exaggerated way. The PMS is trying to force me to deal with them so I can resolve them.

I havent dealt with those issues yet and that is why the PMS continues to bring those exaggerated emotions.

Now that I have realised this, it means I can do something about it. The first step towards recovery of any sort is to acknowledge that there is a problem. So for me, I have unresolved emotional angst about a situation in my life which is making me angry and upset, but I try not to think about it too much because of the emotions that arise when I do. This is not dealing with it, but rather suppressing it. My PMS is trying to make me deal with it as it is not healthy to suppress emotions.

I shall do something about it.

Mirena for PMS and PMDD

Many gyanecologists recommend Mirena ( levonorgestrel IUD) for PMS problems, for heavy periods and for contraception.

A gynaecologist recently recommended it to me when he discovered I have fibroids. The recommendation was not to do a myomectomy because I am over 40 and therefore according to modern medicine, I am not a candidate for pregnancy so removing the fibroid is not advisable. I beg to differ.

The other option advised, but not yet, was a hysterectomy - to remove the whole uterus and the fibroids inside it. No thanks.

I have a fibroid that is about 6cm in diameter and another that is about 2-3cm in diameter. Apparently, most gynaecologists would not remove them, but would rather remove the whole uterus. Obviously they would do this, because the hysterectomy is a much more simpler operation for a surgeon than a  myomectomy, which requires a much more skilled surgeon who can operate with more finesse.

This gyaecologists did not recommend hysterectomy now, but said it may have to be an option some time down the track if the fibroids kept growing and I kept menstruating. Fibroids only usually grow during a woman's menstrual years, as the estrogen is what helps them to grow.

The gyaecologist did strongly recommend the mirean IUD - he told me that he's inserted thousands of them and that it was a wonderful device that helped so many women. I wasnt convinced. He told me to take the information home, read it and if I came to the decision to get it inserted, he could do it quite easily. I asked him how many women experienced side effects from mirena IUD and he gave a small number and told me that if it did cause any side effects in me, it could simply be removed. Again, I wasnt convinced.

The Mirena IUD does have many side effects in more women than is publicly released and I am not so sure that these have published widely enough. The statistics that the manufacturer uses are based on the women in the study groups and those who may have provided this information publicly - undoubtedly many more do not volunteer this information, so their statistics should be taken as a rough estimate and not the actual real 100% correct figure.

Common side effects from using Mirena (approximately 10%):
  • Change in menstrual bleeding, such as spotting, lighter bleeding or stopping of bleeding
  • Development of fluid filled sacks (cysts) in the ovaries
Less common side effects from using Mirena (1-10%)
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Acne 
  • Back or pelvic pain
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Painful periods
  • Vaginal inflammation or discharge
  • Weight gain
Rarer side effects from using Mirena (0.1-1%)
  • Abdominal bloating
  •  Excessive fluid retention in the body tissues, resulting in swelling (oedema)
  •  Hair loss or hair growth
  • Inflammation of the womb
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Migraine
  • Mood changes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Skin reactions such as rash or itching
Rare side effects (0.01-0.1%)
  • Device expulsion
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Perforation of the womb 
  • Pregnancy complications
An of course, all the side effects listed above may not even include all of the side effects that could possibly be experienced and the percentages used are provided by Mirena, so may not be 100% accurate.

There there are the lawsuits again Bayer (the company that owns Mirena) for producing a dodgy device that has caused so many side effects in many women.

1. Bayer - Mirena (Levonorgestrel) IUD
2. Essential Baby (Forum) - Mirena Side Effects
3. FDA - Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology Drug Use Review: Mirena (PDF)
4. FDA - Mirena (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) July 2008
5. Life After Mirena Blog
6. MedHelp - Mirena IUD Side Effects Support User Group
7. NetDoctor - Mirena (Levonorgestrel) IUD
8. Steady Health - Mirena IUD Side Effects

10 March 2013

Exercise and Supplements Help Reduce PMS

Husmorsgymnastik - Nycop, Carl-Adam: 75 år Sverige. Höganäs, 1976
Since my unfortunate experience with the Anna's Wild Yam Cream (not recommended), I have gone back to my regular regime in terms of how I manage my PMS and period pain.
Now I am using vitamins and other supplements - quercetin, omega-3 fish oil, a multi supplement (with the B vitamins) and also stomach digestives with fibre, as the fibre helps to remove excess eostrogen from the body.

Excessive eostrogen is thought to be part of the reason why PMS symptoms occur in many women. The fibre binds with the excessive eostrogen and this enables it to be processed and removed out of the body. The fibre I use is in the form of a supplemental powder that is mixed with water (all natural ingredients, non-GMO).

I have also upped my exercise again. I am exercising for 30-45 minutes every day, varying the type of exercise I do - from walking to strength training, to cardio, to pilates to resistance training. Every bit helps to tone up the body, tone up the heart muscle and to help reduce PMS symptoms.

Exercise is an excellent stress reliever and is an excellent way to tone down those emotional PMS symptoms.

Severe Hives from Annas Wild Yam Cream

Clearly visible hives - covered about 70% of my body
It should be very clear from this photo exactly how severe the hives and welts were on my body.

Initially I estimated that about 40% of my body was covered with these hives, but that was around the start of the treatment with the cream. After I had been using it for just over 2 months, I estimate that about 70% of my body was covered in these hives that were so itchy.

The hives rash was so itchy and so painful that it was waking me up at night to scratch at my skin - mostly because I was allergic to the ingredients in the cream and secondly because the rash had extended beyond the part of my skin on which it had been rubbed.

My advice - do NOT use Anna's Wild Yam Cream or any product that does not have a full ingredient list, because you never know what is inside their product.

Anna's Wild Yam Cream Caused Severe Hives

The hives that covered about 70% of my body after using the cream
I used Anna's Wild Yam Cream for two months (and slightly into the third month) and it gave me severe itching and hives all over my body.

The photo on the left is indicative of the hives I got on every part of my body on which I used it - under the arms, stomach, breasts, inner thighs.

The itching was so severe that I couldnt sleep properly and during the day I just kept on scratching every part of my body - it was pretty horrendous. And the hives got so bad, they extended beyond the parts of my body on which I used the cream!

I sent an email to the company to ask them what was in their product and this is what I got back:

Unfortunately we are unable to give you all the ingredients within the cream as this information is commercially confidential.

If would appear as if you may be our fourth lady who has experienced this problem over our 15 years for which we are very sorry.

It would appear that you will be unable to continue with the cream, even though you mentioned it had helped you. The rash should disappear as you have now stopped its use.

We apologise for your inconvenience and hope you are feeling better soon.
I think the first sentence may be a bit disingeneous because all the products I see on shelves have their ingredients listed.

There was no offer to refund the money for the cream, nothing but the email above. And this is very disappointing that a company that purports to help women was so unhelpful to me, given my very severe symptoms.

The rash did not stop for several months after I stopped using the cream. Within a month, the rash eased off a little, but my skin was still itchy, but less than when I was using the cream. I had to use so many products to try to ease the itching.

My advice - do NOT use Anna's Wild Yam Cream or any product that does not have a full ingredient list, because you never know what is inside their product.