If you are a woman, you probably can’t imagine many things worse than a bad case of repeating PMS. Every month, facing that inner tyrant that won’t quit, coupled with crippling pains and irregular bleeding – not a walk in the park. Some women are now being diagnosed with something even more severe termed ‘premenstrual dysphoric disorder'(PMDD) which is basically like PMS on steroids. How do you cope with something so intense? And are there natural options to consider without the side effects which often accompany the recommended anti-depressants often prescribed for such a condition?
What is PMDD?
Many believe that PMDD was ‘made up’ by psychiatrist who simply want to sell more drugs. This may have some element of truth to it, but what of the women dealing with symptoms such as ‘marked anger and irritability, anxiety, tension, extreme moodiness, sadness, low self-esteem and hopelessness’ along with normal PMS symptoms? Is there an underlying cause that must be addressed in order to resolve the feelings experienced by these women and if so, what is it?
If we look at what causes ‘normal’ PMS, we see that an imbalance in female hormones as well as a fluctuation in the brain hormone serotonin, are major contributors. Serotonin is thought to “play a crucial role in mood states, especially depression. Insufficient amounts of serotonin may contribute to other symptoms of PMS, such as fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems.”
Other factors can be inadequate vitamins and minerals as well as an over-consumption of salt, inadequate exercise and irregular sleep patterns. In today’s world, other factors may play into PMS, and the more intense version – PMDD. All the chemicals, pesticides, food preservatives and electromagnetic radiation we are exposed to on a daily basis definitely has an effect on our body chemistry and how we feel. Taking measures daily, to bring your body into balance and ‘protect’ it from ‘invading energies’ is an important step in reducing and eliminating the harsh reality of both PMS and PMDD.
How to approach it medically
Those who have approached this ‘disorder’ from the medical standpoint normally get prescribed Prozac or another type of anti-depressant. Though this may help somewhat in the beginning, these types of mood-altering medications have their own set of built in problems and side-effects that may cause one to feel ‘disconnected’ from themselves and society, along with twitching and build up of neuro-toxins in the brain which could result in some form of brain damage, according to University Health Services physician Joseph Glenmullen, M.D. in his book, Prozac Backlash.
From a more ‘natural’ approach, women are starting to address diet and lifestyle as well as incorporating various practices including meditation and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in order to ‘conquer’ this issue, some with great success.
Here is a list of things to be aware of, lifestyle alterations and recommended foods and supplements that can help women deal with either PMS or the more intense version of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, the ‘PMS on steroids.’
- eat as much fresh, organic produce as possible
- eliminate sugar, coffee, tabacco, white flour and alcohol
- limit exposure to EMF such as emitted from cell phones and wi-fi
- get adequate sleep regularly
- take walks in nature, especially where you touch bare feet in the grass, releasing a build up of ‘positive ions’
- incorporate a regular basic yoga practice such as sun salutations for hormone balance
- add Maca root to the diet, to feed the endocrine glands, including the brain
- drink a lot of pure water
- eat dark RAW chocolate on occasion
- take a bath with soothing essential oils
- limit intake of table salt, replace with Himalayan salt
- incorporate a good, whole-food based multi-vitamine or super-food supplement
- consider getting regular bodywork – such as a massage or reflexology to keep energy system flowing
- observe your feelings about ‘being a woman’ and practice loving acceptance for yourself and your cycle
- look into Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – a simple free practice you can do daily for health and balance
- take silent time each day to re-center with deep breathing exercises
- keep a gratitude journal – logging all the many things you are grateful for, daily
- spend some time with your girlfriends on a regular basis
- let go of at least one item per month (clothes, jewelry, art, dishes, a thought/emotion, etc) practicing the art of ‘release’
- go easy on yourself
- start thinking positive thoughts about how great you are doing
The Real Woman listens
There are many other thoughts on how to balance the body, mind and emotions in order to get both PMS and PMDD in order, these are just a few to start with. To women who are dealing with the issues of premenstrual dysphoric disorder, it can feel like PMS on steroids, and that is discouraging enough to cause one to want to just crawl under the covers every month and cry. The bright side is there is hope. This may be your opportunity to clear and streamline your life choices even more in order to create more balance, beauty and self-care. Perhaps you are working too hard. Maybe your body is trying to get you to slow down and listen. Whatever it is, it’s time to really tune in and listen. Most importantly, don’t hide your symptoms, get support and know that you are beautiful even with all this seeming madness.
In this society we tend to frame ‘woman’ as this idyllic form, nurturing all and looking beautiful. This is just one side of the powerful woman. We have been programmed by movies, magazines and the world of business to look at certain behaviors as acceptable, and others – not so much. In other cultures, a powerful woman embodies all sorts of emotions and feelings including anger, sadness, grief, joy, nurturing, need, love, kindness, strength, vulnerability, tears and rage. These are all parts of ‘woman.’ Of course, it is understandable when experiencing many of these emotions at once it can feel crippling and interfere with life – in these cases, change is called for.
Whether you suffer from PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, the ‘PMS on steroids’, it is important to take care of yourself, notice your needs and do what you can to fulfill them in a loving, nurturing way. As the research continues in labs and research centers, the most powerful scientist for the woman’s body, is the woman herself. Time to dig deep and listen to what the body is saying – and who knows, maybe the solution is closer than you think.
Written by: Stasia Bliss