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~Seek first to understand, then be understood~
If you're looking for information on a particular topic, type that word in the search box below. If I have written about that subject, a list of posts will appear. If no posts come up, I haven't written about it...yet. Emails, and questions in the comments section for possible posts, are welcome.
I have a "friend" who shows up once a month. She turns my world upside down, over and over again.
I am a good person, caring and sweet, but when she comes to visit, I could rip off your head.
She takes no prisoners, foul words she does spout, I try to keep the words in, she lets them come out.
People don't understand me, or what this is about, to have this creature inside my head.
I despise who I am, half of the time, I feel sorry for my daughter, family and friends.
There's no way to describe it, for those who don't know, it's a living nightmare, she really needs to go.
~Neysia Manor, Rest in Peace

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Even MORE Things A PMDD Woman Needs to Avoid to Feel Better

I really hate to be the continued bearer of bad news, but the list gets longer each day, which for a PMDD woman, can be pretty depressing.

But these posts can also help you to realize that, no, it's not all in your head, and yes, there are tangible things in your environment that are contributing to your PMDD. Things that you DO have some control over. The keys to managing your PMDD are awareness and positive choices, so today I'll address three more things you need to avoid if you want to feel better...in addition to those I wrote about in my previous two posts. (Please scroll down and check them out if you really want to know how to manage your PMDD.)

Processed Food -- I know it’s quick and handy and supposedly does the job of fueling your body, but by eating processed foods are you using the right grade of fuel for optimum health and well being?


The more naturally we eat, the better. We need to aim for foods that are as close as possible to their natural source. This means fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meat protein, fish, eggs, whole grains, and some dairy. The same foods the general population needs to eat to feel better, but they are particularly helpful to a woman suffering from PMDD. Because PMDD women are extra-sensitive to everything we come in contact with, and everything that goes into our bodies.

One note of warning: Beware of the feel-good term whole grain. Read your food labels carefully. Just because the package says whole grain or whole grains on it does not mean what's inside is inherently good for us. Take for example fruit cereal bars, which make sure we know about the fruit and whole grain content in the bar, but neglect to mention the other things they contain, like corn syrup and other sweeteners and all sorts of big-word ingredients that are hard to pronounce.

When in doubt, the rule of thumb is: The fewer the ingredients listed on the package, the better the food inside that package is for you.

Low Fat Everything -- Fat in and of itself is not bad for you. It’s the quantity of fat consumed that can be problematic. Studies show that people who consume low-fat items tend to eat more of those items, which in the end causes them to consume more calories than they would have consumed had they eaten the regular item to start with

If only we’d all slow down, not eat so fast, let the original amount of (healthy) fat in food do its job and make us feel fulfilled.

So if you think you’re saving calories by eating low-fat ice cream or cheese or yogurt or snacks or cookies (not to mention a PMDD woman should avoid as much sugar as possible), think again.

Artificial Sweeteners – This is a biggie, and ranks right up there with low-fat items. Artificial anything is no good for a woman with PMDD, but artificial sweeteners are hell on a woman’s hormone system. You can either take it from me, who’s done the research for you, check out one of my favorite sites for women’s health issues in general, or check out these blogs on written specifically on the toxic effects of:

also known as


Splenda is also called sucralose, which is made by chlorinating sugar. Chlorine is another substance a PMDD woman needs to be careful to avoid, as it can wreak all kinds of havoc on your hormones, whether you soak in it or ingest it.

Here is one article on Splenda I particularly recommend:

You’ll have to decide how technical you want to get, so here are some more sites to choose from on the dangers of artificial sweeteners:

I’m not telling you what to do. Well, I am if you truly want to feel better, 100% of the time. If you want to feel better only part of the time, keep on drinking those diet sodas and eating those low-fat cookies, and eating those processed cereal bars for breakfast and snacks instead of some healthy oatmeal, or whole grain toast with no-sugar added jam. It’s up to you.

As someone has remarked, if you are what you eat, it seems the average consumer consists mostly of thickener, water, salt, and sugar. ~ Harvey Blatt, 'America's Food' (2008)

You are what you eat. Think about it. It’s not just a quote, or a quaint saying. It’s a warning. And one we’d all do well to take heed of, but those of us who suffer from PMDD especially.

But I never point out a problem without offering a solution as well. Here’s one place to find out exactly what you need to eat to have not only a healthy diet, but balanced hormones, and relief from your PMDD. When the article says eat less fat, it doesn’t mean eat low-fat and no-fat foods. It means just that….curb your intake of high fat foods. Cut down on portions. Don’t substitute fake food for the healthy fat you need.

Nobody says you have to give up all of these substances you have unwittingly incorporated into your diet on the same day, or all at the same time. Try it in stages. This week cut down on your diet soda consumption, next week (or month) try eating a healthier breakfast. Use some stevia to sweeten your food instead of sugar or Splenda. Next time you shop, buy regular cheese instead of low-fat. Try regular yogurt instead of low-fat, no-fat, or that overly sweet fruit on the bottom stuff. Change your refrigerator and your diet over slowly, one item at a time. In a few months, or even weeks, depending on how many changes you make, you’ll notice a substantial difference in the way your cupboards look, and the way you feel.

You are in charge of what you put into your body, and you alone.

Isn’t eating healthier worth feeling better?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

More Things That Make Your PMDD Worse

Hi, I can’t believe another week has gone by. A few weeks ago my original intention was to write a post about things to do help manage your PMDD, but there are still a lot of things out there we need to avoid to keep it from getting worse. It won’t do us any good to drink, eat and do the right things as long as we are still eating, drinking and doing the things that make it worse. At best, we’ll only be self-defeating our good intentions. True balance can’t be achieved by coming at this disorder hit or miss.

I’ve been scanning the PMDD loops and forums, and there are so many women out there crying out for help. As I read the posts, I can pinpoint some things they are doing to make their PMDD worse, without even realizing it. Nobody intentionally wants to make themselves feel badly, especially a PMDD woman. We know—even if at times it seems only like a distant memory—what it feels like to feel good, and we want to feel that way all the time.

As I said last week, the information is out there. The problem is it’s scattered all over the place, and some of it isn’t quite true. Some of it is slanted toward getting us to purchase products in which the author of that information has a financial interest. In the interests of my research I’ve bought several books and tapes and products designed to make me feel better, even “cure” my PMDD. Most have failed, because the information they are based upon is faulty to start with.

For instance, there is one doctor who insists over and over again in his literature that PMDD is caused by using birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. If that is the case, I shouldn’t have it, because I’ve never used either. But a vast majority of women have used one or the other, and so by claiming that they cause PMDD, he is guaranteed to have a wide range of women wondering if that is the cause of their PMDD and flocking to buy his products. Instant consumer base.

Based on the scientific information I have read, in particular the information produced in the past five years—information which is not referred to at all in this doctor’s literature--it’s clear that birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies worsen your PMDD, but do not cause it. The studies I have read indicate that overall there is some relief in the initial months when using these methods to treat your symptoms of PMDD—and that is all you can do with these methods—treat the symptoms—because neither of these treatment methods address the underlying cause of PMDD.

But after a certain period of time—usually several months—both clinical studies and anecdotal stories show that birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies make your PMDD worse. And if that’s not enough misery for you, when you stop taking these drugs for your PMDD, your PMDD worsens even more. Because your body has to do all that additional work to recover from the damage that was done to your hormonal balance through using these methods of treatment. The bottom line is you end up feeling worse than you did before you started these treatments.

Realize now that the failure was not yours. The failure was in the treatment, which is at best a one-size fits all treatment for what is a highly individualized disorder.

I have not used bio-identical hormone replacement treatment, so can not address that subject here. At this point I’m still on the fence about that. I have been able to manage my PMDD symptoms through rest, diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise. I still have episodes, but they are mild compared to what they once were, and more than manageable. I would like to make them go away completely, and in the interests of doing so (and research!) hope to try bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in time, but have yet to find a doctor in my local area who will prescribe them. So for now I muddle along, but again, my symptoms are mild and more than manageable.

Two other things that make your PMDD worse are:

Any prescribed drug, including anti-depressants (more on this in a future post).
Any over the counter drug, including NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—that’s right—ibuprofen. That wonderful substance that does wonders for our cramps and sore joints only adds to our PMDD burden.

I’m not saying to never take drugs again. There are genuine disorders, diseases, and conditions that can not be managed any other way. I’m saying you need to be aware that these things make your PMDD worse, and that it’s not just you and you’re not crazy.

For instance when you reach for that bottle of ibuprofen, you need to reach for it knowing you’re making a trade off…relief from your cramps now, or relief from your PMDD later.

Just knowing this makes me pause, and decide whether my cramps and aches are really bad enough for me to need that ibuprofen. Or do I really just need some rest and relaxation to give my body the time it needs to deal with the inflammation on its own?

Dealing with PMDD is more about awareness than anything else. It’s making ourselves aware of what our body is trying to tell us. For example, we need magnesium—chocolate craving—we need carbs—to boost the level of serotonin in our brain—we need sleep—to allow our brains can naturally re-regulate themselves.

Our bodies are designed to heal themselves naturally, given the right nutrients and rest. In our busy society, more often than not, we don’t have the time to stop and listen to what our bodies are telling us. We’ve been conditioned to carry on, no matter what, and consume whatever pill, food, or drink is handy to get us through. Recently I heard an ad on the radio for some kind of product you can puff into your mouth that brings you up to five more hours of energy. It has some nutrients in it to make it sound healthy, but it also has a heavy dose of caffeine—which cancels out any questionable benefits of the nutrients added. Never mind that a PMDD woman needs to avoid caffeine like the plague.

This company promotes their product as something you can take in the afternoon to get you through the rest of the day. So you can be even more productive than you already are. It’s touted as a good thing. Something to make you virtually indefatigable. In our case, a superwoman.

But if you’re tired, your body is telling you that you need rest, not that you need something to override your body’s natural warning system that you’re heading for a breakdown.

So sure, if you use this product--or any of the countless ones just like it you can find next to cash registers at any number of stores--you get the added boost for that particular afternoon. But what about the damage you are doing to your body, which is already screaming for relief? What about the price you will pay with a whopper of a PMDD episode down the line?

Is it really worth it? Or don’t you deserve any better?