The new naming of PMS to PMDD has allowed the drug companies to use selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or mood elevating drugs for the treatment of pre-menstrual symptoms. This approach is based on the studies of Anita Rapkin, M.D. who found that women with PMS had lower serotonin levels after ovulation.
Side effects of SSRI’s include: neurological disorders, sexual dysfunction, dizziness, nausea, and anxiety. Although this approach has some merit, from a Naturopathic perspective, it is important to treat the reasons why some women experience decreased serotonin levels after ovulation.
Treatment with Dietary Changes
Traditionally, women suffering from PMS have had dietary habits worse than the average American. Nutritional and dietary patterns must be addressed in treating the cause of the PMS. Refined carbohydrates (white flour), sugar, caffeine, excess dairy products, and alcohol can all contribute to PMS symptoms. Vitamin B6 has had a substantial effect on symptoms and is thought to increase the synthesis of several neurotransmitters in the brain. Although water soluble B6 is associated with toxicity at high levels and should never be taken at more than 50mg in one sitting. A good dose for PMS is 50mg 2-4 times a day.
Essential fatty acids (Flax, fish oils, evening primrose oil) increase prostaglandins in your body and contribute to decreased inflammation, and enhanced neurotransmitter communication at the cellular level. Magnesium can be used to resolve symptoms at 300mg 1-3 times/day. Specific herbal medicines can also be effective in PMS depending on what the main cause is.
Causes of PMS
PMS can come from a multitude of causes the most common being: