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PMS & PMDD: Minimizing Symptoms

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PMS & PMDD: Minimizing Symptoms

Dr. Lissa Rankin’s medical blog is based on her upcoming book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, which you can preorder here.

I’m a sufferer of severe PMS (my doctor calls it PMDD), and girl: SUFFER is the word. The whole issue is a stew of contradictory thoughts & worries for me. It mucks up my mojo worrying about how Goddess-dissing it seems that I have such problems surrounding my cycle. My condition is totally screwing up my relationship. I’m confused about treatment & what it all means, gyno-spiritually, if you will. I didnít seem fair that I should have to endure this, all because Eve ate that damn apple.

I hear you, sister. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or its evil stepsister, the more severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), can rob even the best of us of our mojo for those few days before the menstrual cycle begins. You may feel like youíre rockiní in love, joy, and acceptance 24 days out of the cycle, but the 4 days before your period you turn into a raging lunatic. If you feel this way, youíre so not alone.

Most women experience symptoms of PMS from time to time — mood swings, chocolate cravings, bloating, irritability. But the more serious PMDD can seriously affect your quality of life. Makes it hard to Own Femininity, eh? Itís enough to make a Goddess like yourself resent being born female. So what can you do?

Natural Tips For Minimizing PMS Symptoms

1. Eat a whole foods diet. You’ve heard it before, but it really does help. That means cutting back on sugar, refined carbohydrates, dairy, caffeine, processed foods, and saturated and hydrogenated (trans) fats, and instead adding fruits, veggies, and whole grains, especially during the luteal phase (second half) of your cycle. Sorry, but that means bye-bye chocolate.

2. Increase essential fatty acids by eating nuts, seeds, and fish.

3. Manage your stress effectively. Try yoga, meditation, massage, or guided imagery CDs.

4. Engage in regular aerobic exercise. A good, long hike helps regulate your hormones and your stress, and it builds up happy-making endorphins.

5. Take a multivitamin and 1200mg of calcium/day.

6. Talk to an integrative medicine doctor about how to use supplements to help your PMS symptoms. Alternative medicine therapies like acupuncture and Reiki can also help.

Next: Criteria for PMDD and the Gyno-Spiritual side of PMS

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the†Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of†Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.† She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.† Lissa blogs at† and also created two online communities -† and† She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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8:38AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

4:29AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

to add to my other post.... My severe nightmarish PMDD is now completely under control by treating my insulin issue (I need a diet which is far lower in carbs then a normal diabetic one).

4:25AM PST on Dec 31, 2013

I used to have severe PMDD.. it was terrible, I got into trouble due to it so had to look myself away in my house right before my period and on the first day of it.

Even then things went wrong eg I slapped a saleman who came to my door, I hit my lawn mowing guy etc. It wasnt a case of just "feeling" out of contol, my PMDD had me becoming completely out of control and I couldnt do much at all about it. It got me into trouble with the police etc. (My doctors started to tell me to ring an ambulance at that time of the month as I'd also have suicidal mood swings with it as well).

I tried all kinds of things to help it.. had DBT for a year (a kind of psychotherapy) to try to help me deal better at that time of the month.. unfortunately it didnt help at all. Eatting better didnt help at all.. I even tried antidepressants starting from 2 weeks before my period but found I couldnt take the SSRI drugs as I got bad drug reactions.

What ended up helping was CALICUM... 1200mg of calcium per day.. I had to take this for a couple of months before it worked but suddenly.. no PMDD at that time of the month. I discovered thou if I skipped days of during the month, sure enough the PMDD would be back at that time.

Ive since discovered that I have insulin problems (hyperinsulinemia) and that combined with what otherwise would of been just PMS at the most.. turned things into PMDD for me. It sucks as this health issue has given me quite a history.

6:25AM PDT on Sep 30, 2010

As a PMDD sufferer myself, here are some things that help me cope: meditation, regular physical activity, deep breathing exercises; supplementing with omega 3s, multivitamins and minerals; drinking peppermint and chamomile tea, eating lots of raw veggies, fruit, garlic, onions, ginger, nuts, and beans; drinking lots of water, and of course, spending time reflecting on the wonderful and helpful articles on care2! (Seriously, this site helped me tons).

I used to believe I was a victim and had no choice but to endure 2 weeks of hell every single month. But I realized that I do have a choice and that was to change my lifestyle habits. It entails a lot of sacrifice but in the end, it really is worth it.

9:28AM PDT on Sep 4, 2010

I am sorry to say that this article was not what I was looking for. I was under the impression I was going to find ALTERNATIVE TO WESTERN MEDICINE. If western medicine was actually working for me I would not be researching alternative.
What I have learned to help me is bananas, dong quay, Pecos Comfort Oil, herbal tea, and my husband has learned that a little love during this time goes a long way. He has also taught me how to be ready for it and has learned when its time to make me a nice cup of tea. At first I would get offended, but now I welcome it. Tea is better than the anti bitch pill sold in the drug store.

9:23AM PDT on Sep 1, 2010

If you suffer with menstrual cramps there are several herbs you can try, and they are all very effective: Valerian (I like Gaia Herbs Liquicaps) -take 2-3 capsules and it relaxes the muscles that cause the cramps - also it will calm your nerves and help you sleep; Women's Precious (a Chinese herb formula - Mayway Herbs carries safe, good quality Chinese herbs); Crampbark. Don't underestimate the power of the Hot Water Bottle either! It seems so simple, but it really does work. It's very important to keep this part of our bodies' warm. Start placing it on your lower abdominal area (below the bellybutton) for up to 1/2 hour a day a couple of days before your period starts. Then continue to use as needed throughout your period.

5:02AM PDT on Aug 31, 2010

Eat bananas.

6:52AM PDT on Aug 24, 2010

to me, just a bit of exercise like running is enough

8:00PM PDT on Aug 16, 2010

keeping our eyes under it too.

7:59PM PDT on Aug 16, 2010

How is our humor sense it's very important too!

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