Posts tagged #depression

Brain Haze Courtesy of PMS

Brain Haze Courtesy of PMS


In the June issue of Cosmopolitan magazine there was an article entitled ‘Beat the PMS Brain Haze’ which discussed the very real but often obscure symptom of PMS which can be identified by indecision, forgetfulness and unusual stress.  Sara Gottfried, MD and the author of ‘The Hormone Cure’ explains how during our menstrual cycle our hormones fluctuate and in the days leading up to our period our bodies release the stress chemical cortisol and there is a decrease in GABA which is a calming chemical.  Sara states on her website “I believe PMS is a legitimate health concern, no different than a sprained ankle (albeit a recurring one) or a broken leg and I believe the health issues unique to women have been shamed and minimized and mocked and stereotyped for too long. There’s no reason for women to be ashamed about menstruating or menopause or to be embarrassed about being women. I believe that needs to change. I believe in changing it. I believe in women. I believe in tending your flame. I believe that proactively managing and optimizing your health is your divine responsibility and path to personal power. I believe there’s probably a reason you’ve lost your mojo and that reason is probably hormonal. And I believe you can – and should – do something about it. I believe in you.” I believe in Sara and her quest for a better understanding of ourselves and our lives.

The Cosmo article goes on to offer various ways to combat this problem including :

- Reduce your schedule the week prior to your period to avoid getting overwhelmed.

- Drink coffee but no more than 3 cups a day.

- Watch a comedy or get together with a friend who makes you laugh as laughter brings  a serotonin rush which helps you refocus.

- Eat oatmeal for it’s similar serotonin surge.

- Work out at home with a lighter PMS reducing yoga class like those found on Do Yoga With Me and My Yoga Online Read all about the amazing benefits of yoga anytime of the month at Jen Reviews. 

- Reduce your cortisol levels and increase endorphins (the feel good hormones) with a massage.

-Listen to music that you feel an emotional connection to which will also result in an endorphin flush.

At the end of the day (and menstrual cycle) I find it comforting to know that we can take control of our bodies and how we feel no matter what time of the month it is.


The Four Categories of PMS

What is PMS and why is it different for every woman?


Q: What is premenstrual syndrome (PMS)?

A: Premenstrual (pree-MEN-struhl) syn-drome (PMS) is a group of symptoms linked to the menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms generally occur 1 to 2 weeks before your period (menstruation or monthly bleeding) starts and can intensify on the days just before your period. The symptoms usually go away after you start bleeding. PMS can affect menstruating women of any age and the effect is different for each woman. For some people, PMS is just a monthly bother. For others, it may be so severe that it makes it hard to even get through the day. PMS goes away when your monthly periods stop, such as when you get pregnant or go through menopause.

Q:  Are there different types of PMS?

A:  Yes. Guy Abraham, M.D., a former professor of obstetrics, gynecology and endocrinology at UCLA has been credited for pioneering the 4 main categories of PMS which are:

PMS – A (anxiety) Characterized by mood swings, irritability and crying jags provoked by the hormonal imbalance of higher estrogen than progesterone levels.

PMS – C (cravings) Many symptoms of hypo-glycemia (low blood sugar) including headaches, fatigue, fainting spells and heart palpitations.  Increased cravings for sugars, chocolate and simple carbohydrates.  Believed to be a coping mechanism of self-medication with food to increase the serotonin levels in the brain.

PMS – D (depression) Insomnia, lethargy, confusion and other cognitive and somatic symptoms.  This type of PMS is believed to be caused by the woman’s sensitivity to the changing neurotransmitters in the brain as a result of changing estrogen and progesterone.

PMS – H (hyperhydration) Associated with weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness and swelling of face, hands and/or feet.  This type is believed to be a result of excessive Aldosterone, a hormone which regulates the salt and water balance in the body.

For your entertainment, here’s a parody of a 1950′s spot on PMS.