Updated: Jul 6
If you want a fun party trick, invite 10 couples over to dinner, send all of the men out of the room, and ask the women to whisper about a few of the worst PMS days they have ever experienced.
It is a rare woman who does not endure the agony of PMS. What are the most common symptoms I see clinically?
-Aches and Pains
Ladies, we women are suffering. I see less women who have symptoms of true Premenstrual Syndrome and more who have symptoms of Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder.
What are symptoms of PMDD?
-Feelings of sadness or despair or even thoughts of suicide
-Feelings of tension or anxiety
-Panic attacks, mood swings, or frequent crying
-lasting irritability or anger that affects other people
-Lack of interest in daily activities and relationships
-Trouble thinking or focusing
-Tiredness or low-energy
-Food cravings or binge eating
-Feeling out of control
-Physical symptoms, such as bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, and joint or muscle pain
This article, from the Gia Allemand Foundation, states that PMDD usually requires 5 or more of these symptoms to be diagnosed as such, though many medical professionals do not recognize PMDD as a disease.
But I am not a medical professional.
Disclaimer: Jennifer has not attended a single day of medical school in her entire life.
Since I see women daily in my practice with completely effed up hormones, I can confidently say that both PMS and PMDD are real.
If your doctor waves your symptoms away by offering you an anti-depressent or (for the LOVE!) the Pill, please find a new doctor.
Your problem is not with your serotonin levels. Your problem is not with ovulation. Not exactly.
Your problem starts much further upstream, in the HPA Axis, the mechanism by which your body perceives and responds to stress.
Stress causes your hypothalamus to tell the pituitary gland to tell the adrenal glands to output cortisol. An overabundance of cortisol reduces progesterone. Progesterone is needed to ovulate appropriately. If you are not ovulating appropriately, you are not metabolizing estrogen properly. If estrogen and progesterone levels are not being produced in the correct amounts, you will not produce enough serotonin for a calm, happy brain.
These physiological problems snowball, month after month, year after year, until you find yourself bawling on the floor of your closet wondering how in the heck you have turned into that horrible mother who screams at her children for no reason and is constantly angry with the man she has adored from the time she said, "I do"!
Why is this happening to you?
Why are every woman's hormones so amazingly off-kilter?
Copper toxicity may be contributing to our collective estrogen dominance.
What are you talking about, Woodward?
Copper is a trace mineral, found in copper pipes, the copper IUD, and (!) all hormonal birth control.
For generations and generations, women have been exposed to toxic levels of copper. Much of this copper is passed in utero to the fetus, and copper levels compound in fetal tissue levels with each subsequent generation. So, if your great grandmother had copper pipes and experimented with the birth control that was popularized around the end of World War II, you have over 4x the compounded tissue levels of copper. And that is if you never took birth control yourself.
Please, my dears, raise your hand if you have ever taken birth control.
Have you noticed any correlation in your own life between taking the pill, mini-pill, or the IUD and your increasing symptoms of premenstrual problems?
I sure have.
These symptoms can be latent, and they can increase as the years pass.
The interesting thing is this: copper toxicity symptoms look exactly like PMS/ PMDD symptoms. Why?
Estrogen raises copper. And copper raises estrogen.
What happens then? Listen to Dr. Rick Malter's own words:
"As copper increases to excess levels in the body's tissues, calcium levels also increase, but the excess calcium tends to deposit more and more in soft tissues and joints rather than in bones and teeth. There is usually also an increase in the Calcium/ Magnesium ratio. This will contribute to increasing problems with blood sugar regulation. Sugar cravings and other addiction cravings may worsen. Also, on a physical level, as excess copper raises the levels of calcium in the soft tissues, the Calcium/Potassium ratio also increases, reflecting a slowing of thyroid gland activity. This is associated with diminished energy levels and depression."
("The Strands of Health", 39)
Dysregulated blood sugar?
The other thing that copper toxicity contributes to is zinc deficiency. Zinc is a beautiful mineral that most women are deficient in, due in great part to our collective copper toxicity. Zinc is needed for strong bones and nails, for acne-free skin, for a healthy and sealed gut, for neurotransmitter health, and for appropriate smooth muscle contraction. Zinc deficiency can contribute to irritability and PMS in the best case scenario, and to birth defects in the worst case scenario. Zinc antagonizes copper, so if you have an excess of copper, you have a deficiency of zinc.
If your multi-vitamin has copper and zinc, shelve it for a bit until you get your micronutrients tested.
This is one of the reasons that I am not a fan of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink vitamins. More is not better. This is also one of the reasons I am thankful that I am trained in gathering and interpreting lab data. Test, don't guess. You could be making your body worse by purchasing every supplement your Amazon history suggests to you.
Interpreting Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis lab results are not straight-forward. It is an art. Just because the body has high or low levels of an element on a sample does not mean that you can just supplement with the substance or remove it from your diet. We look for patterns to gather information on adrenal health, thyroid health, blood sugar metabolism, cellular energy, and metabolism.
So what is a girl to do?
1. Consider taking zinc.
Not a lot. I recommend 30mg Optizinc, daily, with breakfast. I am a fan of remineralization in lieu of heavy detox protocols. Balance out the copper excess with some zinc. Take zinc especially, and immediately, if you are dealing with PMS or PMDD.
2. Consider other birth control options.
If you are on birth control for headaches, give up dairy and gluten for awhile and see if that helps. Eat clean. Ask me if you need help. Many women report their headaches lessening greatly as we start working on cleaning up their diet.
If you are on birth control for PMS, you are being hosed. Your symptoms will continue to get worse. You are shutting down your body's own production of progesterone! And estradiol. Eat well, rest, and care for yourself. Get off the Pill.
If you are on birth control for a heavy period, stop eating seed oils. Stop eating dairy. Stop eating sugar. It is hard for the first month. Then you start feeling great. And you won't miss the pill because your periods will be so much better.
3. Consider getting a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis and Interpretation.
This would, obvs, be with me. I love what I do and I love helping women. I want you to have data on your body that empowers you and helps you achieve your goal of feeling better. The more I read and study and train and learn on this method of laboratory testing, the more excited I get. There are options, ladies. You are not stuck with 20 pounds of fluff, sleepless nights, and PMS from Hades. Knowledge is empowering, truly. The Lord God is in control of your life- He created your body and sustains it perfectly. Seeing data on the individual ratios of how that body ought to be functioning is both fascinating and galvanizing. There are things we can do to help you feel better. We feel the effects of a fallen world every day, but that does not mean that we cannot gently restore our bodies to feel stronger as we fight the good fight.
Do you think Diana lets PMS kick her ass? I don't think so.
Let's continue this discussion on Facebook. Chime in if you want. If you are interested in feeling better quickly, consider joining our March 28 Day Reset. Everything is done for you. You think about nothing. I provide you meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, workouts, supplements, and a lively and invigorating Facebook Group to keep us all accountable and encouraged. We start March 1. The price is $247. Let me know if you are interested. I want to help you! Ladies from our January Reset reported easier periods, better sleep, more even moods, and weight loss from between 3 and 15+ pounds in 28 days. Without starving. Get ahold of me for more info or to sign up. Bring a friend! If you sign up with a friend, you receive $20 off your Reset price. Mention code "FRIEND20" when signing up. Be sure to let me know who you are signing up with!
Yours in health,