Originally published July 2 2008
Choose Nature Instead of Prozac for PMS and PMDD
by Tony Isaacs
(NaturalNews) Thanks to a recent question in the Ask Tony Isaacs Curezone forum, I discovered that it appears to be common to prescribe the dangerous drug Prozac for PMS -- at least in the United States, that is. Not only that, but it is evidently often prescribed not by the Psychiatrists who successfully lobbied the FDA for approval over the objections of the WHO (World Health Organization), but by ordinary ob/gyn doctors who are making diagnosis of a specially created condition the psychiatrists came up with to justify prescribing it: Pre Menstrual Distress Disorder, or PMDD.
The initial question asked in the forum was :
"Went to the ob/gyn yesterday. I am well into premenopause and he diagnosed me with PMDD. No doubt my PMS is getting worse as I get older. He wants me to start on Prozac for several days a month before I get my period to help with my symptoms. I don`t want to go on Prozac or hormone therapy. What can I use naturally to help my symptoms? I think I need to revamp my diet as well. How can I ease into a diet change slowly so as not to overwhelm myself all at once? Also, any supplements I should add? I know there are lots of questions, but I NEED HELP! Thanks."
My initial reaction was one of shock and outrage. Prozac for PMS? What the heck was an ob/gyn doing prescribing that scary drug? And what was PMDD anyway? A quick check of Wikipedia made it all too clear:
"Originally called late luteal phase dysphoric disorder (LLPDD), the disorder was renamed PMDD by the American Psychiatric Association in its May 1993 revision of the DSM-IV. PMDD was moved from a position in the appendix of the manual to a "disorder requiring further study." Some groups of psychiatrists and women`s groups object to the labeling of a severe form of PMS as a psychiatric disorder.
PMDD is accepted as illness by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but has not been listed as a separate disorder in the World Health Organization`s International Classification of Diseases. In 2003, the manufacturer of Prozac (fluoxetine) was required by the Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products to remove PMDD from the list of indications for fluoxetine sold in Europe. The committee found that
...PMDD is not a well-established disease entity across Europe... There was considerable concern that women with less severe pre-menstrual symptoms might erroneously receive a diagnosis of PMDD resulting in widespread inappropriate short and long-term use of fluoxetine.
PMDD is not listed on the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. 
Some commentators suggest that PMDD (along with social anxiety disorder, restless leg syndrome, and female sexual dysfunction) has been marketed by pharmaceutical companies in order to increase the demand for treatments.(PMID 16597181)."
There it was -- PMDD is an essentially manufactured condition not recognized by the WHO yet approved by the FDA so that our doctors can write even more prescriptions for a dangerous and highly controversial drug known to cause suicide and uncontrolled violence. And those prescriptions are for a condition that Prozac is prohibited from being used for in Europe.
Another fine example of the mainstream manage` a trois between big pharma, the FDA and our doctors.
Not that the FDA would approve, but, as is often the case when dangerous mainstream drugs and treatments are thrust upon us, there are many natural and much safer alternatives to managing PMS, including diet, stress reduction such as EFT and supplementation. Here are some excerpted from my book "Collected Remedies`:
Mood swings, tender breasts, a swollen abdomen, food cravings, fatigue, irritability and depression. If you experience some or all of these problems in the days before your monthly period, you may have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
An estimated three of every four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome. These problems are more likely to trouble women between their late 20s and early 40s, and they tend to recur in a predictable pattern. Yet the physical and emotional changes you experience with premenstrual syndrome may be more or less intense with each menstrual cycle.
Still, you don`t have to let these problems control your life. In recent years, much has been learned about premenstrual syndrome. Treatments and lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Signs and symptoms
For many women the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are an uncomfortable and unwelcome part of their monthly menstrual cycle. The most common physical and emotional signs and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome include:
* Weight gain from fluid retention
* Abdominal bloating
* Breast tenderness
* Tension or anxiety
* Depressed mood
* Crying spells
* Mood swings and irritability or anger
* Appetite changes and food cravings
* Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
* Joint or muscle pain
Although the list of potential signs and symptoms is long, most women with premenstrual syndrome experience only a few of these problems.
For some women, the physical pain and emotional stress are severe enough to affect their daily routines and activities. For most of these women, symptoms disappear as the menstrual period begins.
But for some women with premenstrual syndrome, symptoms are so severe they`re considered disabling. This form of PMS has its own psychiatric designation -- premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome with symptoms including severe depression, feelings of hopelessness, anger, anxiety, low self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, irritability and tension. A number of women with severe PMS may have an underlying psychiatric disorder.
Exactly what causes premenstrual syndrome is unknown, but several factors may contribute to the condition. Cyclic changes in hormones seem to be an important cause, because signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome change with hormonal fluctuations and also disappear with pregnancy and menopause.
Chemical changes in the brain also may be involved. One clue to the cause may be traced to fluctuations of serotonin, a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that 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.
Occasionally, some women with severe premenstrual syndrome have undiagnosed depression, though depression alone does not cause all of the symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Stress also may aggravate some of the symptoms, but alone it isn`t a cause.
Some PMS symptoms have been linked to low levels of vitamins and minerals. Other possible contributors to PMS include eating a lot of salty foods, which may cause fluid retention, and drinking alcohol and caffeinated beverages, which may cause mood and energy level disturbances
Alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, hot drinks, and hot soups can trigger hot flashes.
You can manage or sometimes reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome by making changes in the way you eat, exercise and approach daily life. Try these approaches:
* Modify your diet
* Eat smaller, more frequent meals each day to reduce bloating and the sensation of fullness.
* Limit salt and salty foods to reduce bloating and fluid retention.
* Do not eat any type of sugar, and of course sweeteners. Modify your diet
* Substitute garlic powder or onion powder for salt when cooking.
* Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
* Choose non-dairy foods rich in calcium and perhaps a daily calcium supplement.
* Take a daily multivitamin supplement and a good source of plant derived trace minerals.
* Avoid caffeine.
* Avoid alcohol.
* Incorporate exercise into your regular routine
* Engage in brisk walking, cycling, swimming or other aerobic activity most days of the week. Regular daily exercise can help improve your overall health and alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and a depressed mood.
* Reduce stress -- EFT is wonderful for reducing stress.
* Get plenty of sleep.
* Practice progressive muscle relaxation or deep-breathing exercises to help reduce headaches, anxiety or trouble sleeping (insomnia).
* Record your symptoms for a few months
* Keep a record to identify the triggers and timing of your symptoms. This will allow you to intervene with strategies that may help to lessen them.
Here`s what`s known about the effectiveness of some of the more common natural products and remedies used to soothe the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome:
* Calcium. Consuming 1,000 milligrams (mg) of dietary and supplemental calcium daily, such as chewable calcium carbonate (Tums, Rolaids, others), may reduce the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Regular, long-term use of calcium carbonate also reduces your risk of osteoporosis.
* Magnesium. Taking 400 mg of supplemental magnesium daily may help to reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness and bloating in women with premenstrual syndrome.
* Vitamin B-6. A daily dose of 50 to 100 mg of vitamin B-6 may help some women with troublesome PMS symptoms.
* Vitamin E. This vitamin, taken in 400 international units daily, may ease PMS symptoms by reducing the production of prostaglandin, hormone-like substances that cause cramps and breast tenderness.
* Herbal remedies. Many women report relief of PMS symptoms with the use of herbs such as black cohosh, ginger, raspberry leaf, dandelion, chasteberry, St. John`s Wort and evening primrose oil.
* Colloidal Gold. Colloidal gold is one of the least known yet most effective mood and mental enhancers.
* Natural progesterone creams. These are derived from wild yams and soybeans. Some women report that these creams relieve symptoms. Combine one handful of chamomile and one handful of dried orange flowers in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and hang from the bathtub faucet. The warm water will release the fragrant oils and relieve PMS discomfort.
Other topics that may be helpful:
* Pumpkin Seeds. Eat pumpkin seeds about a week before your menstrual period (a handful - 1/4 of a cup a day) and your cramps should be non-existent. Also eat them as a snack during the period.
* Hot water and ginger. Boil the water and stir in two to three tablespoons of ginger and drink it up. You should feel better in 30-45 minutes.
* Dill pickle juice. Drink a half cup when you feel a cramp coming or as soon as it strikes.
One heaping teaspoon of salt in water (1 to 2 to one glass) may also do the trick if you have no pickle juice handy.
* Yogurt or calcium. Eat two cups of yogurt a day in the days or week leading up to your period and you should not be moody or have cramps when your monthly period comes. If you don`t like yogurt, take a calcium supplement... Continue during the period. With either one, you should see a big difference in your time of the month.
* Oregano and water. Take three tablespoons of oregano and mix with one liter of water, then bring to boiling and continue to boil for five minutes. Strain and drink as a tea. You should feel better soon and continue to feel well for an entire day.
* It should be no surprise that an herb named cramp bark (Viburnum opulus) would work wonders for menstrual pain. It contains at least six compounds that relax muscles, as well as salicin, the pain-relieving compound from which aspirin is derived. Take one teaspoon of the liquid extract every hour until your cramps subside. If they don`t ease within 48 hours, stop taking cramp bark.
* Supplements. Take 1,000 mg calcium and 500 mg magnesium daily. Calcium and magnesium work together to regulate muscle contractions and the conduction of nerve impulses.
* Ginger tea (for cramps). Grate two to three teaspoons of fresh ginger root and simmer in two cups of water for several minutes. Add lemon and honey to taste. Drink as much as desired.
* Acute cramps. Combine equal parts of ginger, valerian, and cramp bark tinctures, to be taken in half-teaspoon doses every twenty minutes until the symptoms subside.
* Aromatherapy. A couple of days before menstruation begins, massage the following combination into the abdomen once or twice a day, as well as using them in the bath. Blend together equal parts of chamomile, an anti-inflammatory; clary sage, which relieves depression; lavender, a relaxing herb; and tarragon and marjoram, which are anti-spasmodic.
* Hot ginger poultice. Make a strong ginger tea or add a half-teaspoon of ginger essential oil to a quart of hot water. Dip a towel in the water and wring it out, lay it over the abdomen, and place a hot water bottle over the ginger towel to retain the heat. Relax for fifteen minutes.
Live long, live healthy, live happy!
Prescription for Herbal Healing and Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis Balch
About the authorTony Isaacs, is a natural health author, advocate and researcher who hosts The Best Years in Life website for those who wish to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. Mr. Isaacs is the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including "Cancer's Natural Enemy" and is working on a major book project due to be published later this year. He is also a contributing author for the worldwide advocacy group "S.A N.E.Vax. Inc" which endeavors to uncover the truth about HPV vaccine dangers.
Mr. Isaacs is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near Austin and San Antonio to give lectures and health seminars. He also hosts the CureZone "Ask Tony Isaacs - featuring Luella May" forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group "Oleander Soup" and he serves as a consultant to the "Utopia Silver Supplement Company".
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