Developing a schedule for a healthier pregnancy

Pregnancy can be very difficult, especially if you already have chronic health problems. Personally, I felt very sick starting week three, and until around week 12 – 13. The sickness presented itself in terms of nausea, extreme fatigue, and increased anxiety. Only once I started to feel less nauseous, I was able to go back to my regular diet which limits refined carbs and continue with intermittent fasting again. I did then also start feeling worse in the third trimester, around after week 34. From my experience, these are the actions which have helped me to feel better:

  • Start taking folic acid as soon as possible, preferably before conception. Folic acid supplementation has been found to reduce neural tube defects, as well as congenital heart defects. Taking folic acid supplement every day can provide a positive feeling that you are doing the right thing for your baby’s health.
    From Health Canada: “Folic acid is vital to the normal growth of your baby’s spine, brain and skull. Taking a daily vitamin supplement that has folic acid can reduce the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect. The benefits of taking folic acid to reduce the risk of NTDs are highest in the very early weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, most women do not know they are pregnant. For this reason, taking folic acid before you become pregnant and in the early weeks of pregnancy is very important.”
    https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/pregnancy/folic-acid.html
    Recent studies have shown that high folate intake is associated with a reduced risk of birth defects other than NTDs. Higher maternal folate or periconceptional use of folic acid is associated with a lower risk of congenital heart defects (20-23) and oral clefts (24). A recent meta-analysis of 1 randomized controlled trial, 1 cohort study, and 16 case-control studies has shown that maternal folate supplementation is associated with a lowered CHD risk (RR =0.72, 95% CI: 0.63–0.82) (25). However, the results showed considerable heterogeneity, but after excluding the outliers the risk estimate was almost unchanged: the corresponding pooled RRs were not materially altered (RR =0.78, 95% CI: 0.69–0.89) (25).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6837928/#:~:text=Recent%20studies%20have%20shown%20that,and%20oral%20clefts%20(24).
  • Iron supplements – Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency during pregnancy. It happens most often during the third trimester. The iron in meat, fish and poultry is the easiest for our bodies to absorb and use. Foods rich in vitamin C help you absorb more iron. You can start taking an iron supplement during pregnancy in order to make sure you get enough and to prevent anemia. Low iron can lead to more fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, headache, dizziness. All these symptoms in turn can make you more depressed. If low iron will lead to anemia, there will not be enough hemoglobin, and less oxygen will get to your cells. Cells won’t be functioning properly, and this can also contribute to depression and anxiety.
  • Prenatal vitamins – you can easily buy prenatal vitamins in a pharmacy or online. Nutritional yeast flakes also contain multiple vitamins. I’ve experienced more and more lethargy in the third trimester, and I started adding small doses of nutritional yeast flakes to smoothies. I have the Bob’s Red Mill brand, it is fortified inactive yeast, contains high doses of B vitamins – thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate, and B12. It’s very cheap, given that the whole pack was around $8, and I consume less than a teaspoon a day, as the vitamin concentration is very high. I don’t see the need to take more than the needed daily value of B vitamins. I found that actually taking overly high doses of B vitamins for me can lead to panic attacks. Small doses of nutritional yeast do help me with energy during the third trimester, it can get me out of a very lethargic vegetative state to at least being able to wash the dishes, write in my blog, etc.
  • Sleep more – pregnancy can cause extreme fatigue. I found that instead of 7 – 8 hours, I currently need to sleep 9 hours. It helped me to start going to bed earlier, before 12am, then I am able to wake up for work before 9am. I also found that staying asleep became more difficult, I would wake up at around 4:30am, unable to fall back asleep. What helped me is eating the last meal four hours before bed, and the meal consisting mostly of non-refined starch, and not a lot of protein. The best sleep occurs for me if I eat short grain brown rice or potatoes (not fries) with something for dinner. Some studies mention that it is the prebiotic foods which can help sleep. “More commonly eaten foods that contain prebiotics include asparagus, onions, garlic, cashews, pistachios, and cooked and cooled grains and potatoes.” On the other hand, I found that eating cheese or red meat in the evening causes nightmares for me during the night, therefore I only eat those foods earlier on in the day.
    https://www.sbs.com.au/food/article/2020/03/13/science-suggests-prebiotic-foods-might-help-you-sleep
  • Foods for anxiety – even though there is no recommendation to completely avoid coffee during pregnancy, I had to stop drinking any coffee as it would increase my anxiety more than before pregnancy. I also had to figure out which foods exacerbate acid reflux, which got worse. Ongoing acid reflux would make it uncomfortable for me to sit, lie down, sleep, and relax. It’s hard to calm down and do any breathing exercises, or just read a book, if your throat is burning, and you feel acid going up. I had to stop eating chocolate, spicy foods, coffee, black tea, lemon, soups, and meals containing a lot of tomatoes. I found oolong tea to be a good option. I also found helpful choosing complex carbs over refined carbs – making my own oat whole wheat pancakes, eating brown rice, potatoes, lentil pasta, plantains. Eat some protein with each meal.
    From the Mayo Clinic: “Carbohydrates are thought to increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect. Eat foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains — for example, oatmeal, quinoa, whole-grain breads and whole-grain cereals. Steer clear of foods that contain simple carbohydrates, such as sugary foods and drinks.
    I also had to stop consuming all dairy products, I noticed they were making my anxiety worse, as well as increasing brain fog. Again, from the Mayo Clinic:
    Pay attention to food sensitivities. In some people, certain foods or food additives can cause unpleasant physical reactions. In certain people, these physical reactions may lead to shifts in mood, including irritability or anxiety.
  • Food sensitivities – if you are avoiding any foods due to food sensitivities, make sure you get enough nutrients from other foods. I used to eat dark chocolate, which contains a lot of magnesium, but had to stop due to acid reflux. I made sure to eat other magnesium containing foods such as peanuts, bananas, and flax seeds. I also had to stop consuming any dairy, as I noticed that it was increasing my anxiety, rumination, and brain fog. I had to start consuming fortified soy milk, tofu, dairy-free yogurts, etc., in order to get calcium. I also took calcium supplements, and made my own supplement from egg shells.
  • Exercise – an important step with exercise, as with all pregnancy symptoms/issues in general, for me was acceptance. Acceptance that I could no longer do what I used to do several weeks ago. I used to dance for my mental health, because I enjoy reggaetón, and moving freely, and aerobic exercise is supposed to reduce depressive symptoms. I had to accept that I could no longer do that on most of the days due to nausea, fatigue, migraines. But still when I could, I tried to move – going for a walk near my house, going up and down the stairs (the house where I live has a staircase), doing a physical chose – washing the floor, vacuuming. Some movement is better than no movement at all, and I accepted that is it the situation right now, but it is also temporary.
  • Mindfulness – sometimes you cannot solve a problem. I have been feeling pretty lethargic throughout the whole pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. I was also not able to resolve the acid reflux issue and the stuffy nose, only reduce the symptoms somewhat. Mindfulness helps to observe your experiences from the side and accept that these are the current sensations/emotions/symptoms. I think observation can help realize how negative symptoms come in waves, so that you don’t end up generalizing or catastrophizing – “every day is terrible”, “I always feel awful”. I’m also mindful of the fact that I chose to be pregnant, as my goal is to have my own family, therefore this is something I have to go though in order to achieve my goal. I also remind myself that pregnancy is definitely a temporary condition, no one has stayed permanently pregnant.

Great toxicology YouTube channel… and celiac disease misdiagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia?

A really great guy – a toxicologist with his own YouTube channel telling real life ER stories. Here is a link to one of his episodes. A woman with delusions read on the internet about a specific colon cleanse, which led her to drinking 1 liter of soy sauce in two hours. 1 liter of soy sauce contains 200 grams of salt. What happened then to her brain? Why did she choose to drink the soy sauce in the first place? Was it due to paranoid schizophrenia, or was something else also going on?

A Woman Drank 1 Liter Soy Sauce Colon Cleanse In 2 Hours. This Is What Happened To Her Brain.

It’s not always about some serotonin imbalance… let’s pay more attention to neurology

I get articles recommended by my Anroid phone, I assume based on an algorithm that performs some sort of machine learning model based on my browsing history. I actually like this feature, because I find the recommendations often actually interesting. So thumbs up for machine learning!

Today I came across an article about a woman with recurring severe depression, and in her case for many years no medical tests were performed, and her psychiatrist kept prescribing her different kinds of antidepressants, without considering any other potential causes or treatments. This reminds me of my own experience with autoimmune encephalitis, luckily I did get treated after two years from my first hospitalization in the psychiatric unit, not after more than a decade. In the case of this woman, eventually a brain tumour of a significant size was found, in 2019. She had recurring episodes of severe depression starting from 2002. As I understood, it’s not possible to find out at this point when the tumour actually originated, and whether it was the cause of depression, but it’s clear from the story that after the treatment of the tumour, the woman’s life significantly improved – she went back to her scientific career, finding a job as a scientist in a biotech firm. She got married, resumed activities she used to enjoy, and was weaned off antidepressants. Given these observations, it seems to me that the tumour and her depression were not just a correlation, but there is a causation here.

Unfortunately it seems rare that psychiatrists would order any medical tests even in the case of treatment resistant depression. I had to switch a few family doctors, and in the end went to one whom my mother knows for decades, and she agreed to order an MRI for me, and blood tests for thyroid hormones, infections, and antibodies. My psychiatrist never proposed to do any tests. Only after I received back the results, and some of them were abnormal, specifically the antibody levels, I was able to refer myself to neurology. Seems that we, psychiatric patients, have to often be very proactive in demanding medical testing. For this reason I think it is important to be aware of cases where depression was resistant to standard antidepressant treatments, but later on a specific medical cause was found.

Not ‘just depression.’ She seemed trapped in a downward mental health spiral.

  • Blaine’s first bout of depression occurred in 2002 when she was in her first year of a doctoral program in materials science at the University of California at Santa Barbara
  • She was prescribed Prozac, recovered and returned to California. Six months later she left school for good and found full-time work in a coffee shop
  • In 2005, Blaine began working as a research associate at a polymer film company
  • Her illness seemed to follow a pattern: after a few years the antidepressant inexplicably stopped working; her psychiatrist would prescribe a new drug and she would get better
  • In 2018 Blaine had lost her job of 10 years and she seemed trapped in a downward spiral
  • She left her job as a research scientist in 2018 and began working as a server at a variety of restaurants in Charlottesville
  • By late summer Blaine had developed what she assumed were frequent migraine headache, sometimes her balance was off and she complained that her vision had deteriorated and she needed new glasses, psychiatric medication was not effective
  • On Jan. 2 2019, a hospital psychiatrist doubled the dose of her antidepressant
  • Several days later Blaine suddenly collapsed and began vomiting, at the ER where she was diagnosed with a “vasovagal episode” — fainting that results from certain triggers including stress
  • Her sister and mother insisted doctors take a closer look, Blaine underwent an MRI scan of her brain
  • MRI findings showed a tumor the size of an orange had invaded the right frontal lobe of Blaine’s brain, there was evidence of herniation, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when the brain is squeezed out of position
  • During a 10-hour operation, University of Virginia neurosurgeon Ashok Asthagiri removed a grade 2 astrocytoma, a slow-growing malignancy that he said “could have been there for years.”
  • “especially in the setting of mental illness,” the neurosurgeon cautioned, “it is easy to disregard symptoms that maybe should be evaluated.” Doctors “need to be vigilant. Once [a patient] gets labeled, everything is viewed as a mental health problem.”
  • After recovering from surgery, Blaine underwent radiation and chemotherapy; she finished treatment in December 2019
  • Recently Blaine was hired as a scientist at a biotech firm. She has resumed the activities she previously enjoyed: rowing, cooking and walking her dogsHer psychological health has improved significantly and her new psychiatrist is weaning her off her antidepressant

More articles on this subject:

Why are women with brain tumours being dismissed as attention-seekers?

  • Women with serious medical conditions are more likely than men to have their symptoms attributed to depression and anxiety
  • Historically, women’s health has been viewed with a “bikini approach”, the primary focus being breasts and the reproductive system
  • One study drew data from 35,875 cardiac patients, 41% of them women, across nearly 400 US hospitals. It found that women faced a higher risk of dying in hospital, subsequent heart attacks, heart failure, and stroke. They were less likely to have an ECG within 10 minutes and to receive crucial medications. And women younger than 65 years old are more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack than men of the same age
  • A Bias Against Women in the Treatment of Pain, found that women were less likely to receive aggressive treatment when diagnosed, and were more likely to have their pain characterised as “emotional,” “psychogenic” and therefore “not real”

Woman misdiagnosed with anxiety actually had a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball

  • Laura Skerritt, 22, began suffering migraines, sickness and psychosis and was told her symptoms were caused by anxiety, depression – and even bi-polar disorder
  • She was prescribed anti-depressants but the medication had no effect on her condition which continued to deteriorate
  • By November 2018, the young swimming instructor, from Templecombe, Somerset, was struggling to walk and was having seizures.
  • A scan at Yeovil District Hospital revealed a tennis ball-sized brain tumour

Brain tumor revealed by treatment-resistant depression

  • The 54-year-old woman had been depressed for 6 months, but treatment with the antidepressant fluoxetine and the anti-anxiety medication bromazepam was discontinued after 5 months because these were not found to be effective
  • She had suicidal thoughts, admitted self-accusation due to ineffectiveness in her job, and lost interest in her usual past times
  • A neurological examination was normal. However, a brain CT scan and MRI revealed meningiomatosis with a giant meningioma–the most common primary benign brain tumour–in her left frontal lobe
  • The patient underwent emergency surgery, and made a recovery. The depressive symptoms disappeared within one month
  • Recommendation – brain scan should be performed if the patient presents a late onset of depressive syndrome after 50 years of age, if a diagnosis of treatment-resistant depression is made or if the patient is apathetic

A great story of recovery from Anti NMDA Receptor Encephalitis

I recently had someone contact me in regards to their relative who was in a hospital, diagnosed recently with autoimmune encephalitis. It was an ongoing situation, and therefore extremely painful for them. Probably unless you are in the neurology field, or immunology, you have never heard of autoimmune encephalitis, unless it happens to you or someone you know. Most people think of brain injury being caused by a physical accident, such as a sports injury, by stroke, or by dementia. Very few people could imagine that a young person, twenty or thirty years old, could also receive a brain injury, from the immune attack of their own body.

The person who contacted me described their relative as being young, and previously completely healthy. Going from that state, to being in a hospital, held down due to severe aggression and violence, is of course shocking. I was asked whether myself I ever recovered, whether I was able to work. The person was concerned that their relative does not love them anymore. They did say after our conversation that talking to me gave them some hope, given that I also had similar symptoms of aggression and violence, swearing, believing that my close people were making plans on how to get rid of me. Not being sure if they were actually real, whether they existed, or only in my thoughts. It’s hard to describe that experience. And then going back to a much more normal state – being able to spend time with people as usual, not constantly finding secret meanings in their words, not seeing predictive signs everywhere. I also sent that person a story of recovery that I found on YouTube, and I hope it will add more hope for them as well. The young woman in the story clearly had a very severe case of encephalitis, as she was not able to recognize her parents and some point, she ended up in a coma, and currently does not remember those several months of illness. Also she provides important information on treatment in the video – for her it was specifically a combination of two chemotherapy drugs, Cytoxan and Rituximab. I think it’s important to know, as IV steroids or IVIG may not work for all cases of encephalitis. It’s good to know about other available treatment options, which as you can see, in some cases lead to great recovery.

Anti NMDA Receptor Encephalitis – Amanda’s Rare Autoimmune Disease Story

 

Improvement with lithium chloride supplement

I have extensive experience with psych meds, first prescription being abilify and seroquel in 2015, then mirtazapine, wellbutrin, risperidone, cymbalta, trazodone, and more. None of the meds worked for me. Last trial was of fluoxetine in November, which caused severe insomnia on only 10mg, and panic attacks. In March I also tried Zembrin which is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI). Zembrin also caused panic attacks for me and increased psychotic symptoms. I decided I don’t want to touch any additional SSRIs, SNRIs, nor SRIs.

I have also tried shrooms microdosing. I found that 1-4 gram occasional trips are better for me as microdosing makes me fatigued. While on shrooms though, a lot of thoughts came to me about reducing my caffeine intake and lithium. Lithium was mentioned to me several years ago by one consulting psychiatrist, but was never prescribed. I asked my current psych about it, but she refused to prescribe it.

While I was on Zembrin in March, by mid-month I started to get more paranoid and psychotic, as I was also in luteal phase of my cycle. A lot of women with mental illness experience PME – premenstrual exacerbation of symptoms. I unfortunately experience that as well. Mid-March I decided to stop Zembrin and any other supplements I was trying – mushroom coffee, rhodiola rosea, St. John’s Wort tea. I also stopped drinking coffee in general as I think it exacerbates my mood swings. I only continued with lithium orotate supplement that I purchased, but I stopped it as well as it seemed that it was causing more frequent urination. As I stopped these supplements and my period stabilized, my mental state somewhat stabilized to a point where I could better observe myself and think about what to do next. I decided that I still wanted to try lithium, but purchased a supplement which was in a different form – liquid which contains lithium chloride, instead of the lithium orotate tablets. I chose lithium chloride because there is more existing research on it than on lithium orotate. I also made homemade CBD oil from the Avidekel strain.

Well it has been over two months since mid-March and I’ve hard a lot more days which were just ‘alright’ instead of being a struggle with intrusive thoughts and depression. I’ve felt more calm and was able to read more throughout these two months, actually finished two books, on my third now. So in general a beneficial experience so far, will see how it goes.

Great psychiatry podcast. Impresionante podcast de psiquiatría.

Just wanted to post a link to a very interesting psychiatry podcast. For now I have specifically listened to the interviews with Dr. Cummings and I really enjoyed all the episodes. Dr. Cummings seems to be a very knowledgeable psychiatrist and provides a lot of information about areas of the brain, neurotransmitters, psychopharmacology. Currently I drive to work and back on a daily basis and I have been listening to the episodes in the car.

PSYCHIATRY & PSYCHOTHERAPY PODCAST

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Solo quería publicar un enlace a un podcast de psiquiatría muy interesante. Por ahora he escuchado específicamente las entrevistas con el Dr. Cummings y realmente disfruté todos los episodios. El Dr. Cummings parece ser un psiquiatra muy conocedor y comparte mucha información sobre áreas del cerebro, neurotransmisores, psicofarmacología. Actualmente conduzco diariamente al trabajo y de regreso y he estado escuchando los episodios en el auto.

1 gram of shrooms helped me realize that I have a caffeine addiction which negatively impacts my BPD symptoms

I recently did 1 gram of shrooms and even though it was not such a dose that I would see any visuals, it was a very useful experience for me.

I have been diagnosed with having borderline personality disorder traits, which then lead to depression and anxiety.

Caffeine definitely is not the cause of my BPD symptoms, but the recent shrooms experience helped me realize that I do have a caffeine addiction which negatively impacts my life. I think I have been denying it, saying to my self that – it’s just caffeine, it’s not like I do illegal stimulant drugs. Shrooms helped me accept that brain biochemistry doesn’t care about the legal status of caffeine. I had to accept that even though being completely legal and sold everywhere, I do get mood crashes from caffeine as I would from cocaine (which I tried a long time ago in high school). I can have a few cups of tea in a day, but I do like to drink several in a row, I also like coffee and yerba mate. I have been observing my symptoms for a while and I do notice that I get dysphoric later on in the day if I have coffee or yerba mate in the morning, especially on an empty stomach. I also get more paranoid about being alone, not having any friends (even though I do have several good friends), etc. I knew this for a while, just shrooms helped me accept that I really should do something about the caffeine addiction as it really negatively impacts my mood and sense of self.

I don’t think I need to completely give up tea, but I did have to quit coffee and yerba mate, which actually did help me to have a more even mood throughout the day. I also have been taking CBD oil that I made at home, I think that also helps with anxiety and mood swings. I will still have a few cups of black tea, which I love, but I need to limit myself at only three-four cups of tea per day, not very strong.

This realization might seem not very important, maybe some people expect some enlightenment or spiritual experiences from shrooms, but whenever I do shrooms I actually feel very logical and I am able to see myself from a side. I was able to analyze the correlation between my caffeine consumption and my BPD symptoms in a more unbiased way and this is actually an important realization for me, as BPD symptoms really worsen my quality of life, so if something like reducing caffeine can help – it’s not a breakthrough for humanity, but a big improvement for me. And also hoping to help anyone else reading it affected by BPD – I do believe caffeine might worsen psychiatric symptoms for some individuals.

Beautiful schizophrenia treatment success story

I found Quentin’s successful outcome in this story very hopeful. I don’t have schizophrenia, antipsychotics did not turn out to be useful for me, but it’s great to hear how they do work for many people with schizophrenia and how the outcomes can now be so different in comparison to the times before invention of antipsychotics. My psychosis has also mostly subsided since the treatment of encephalitis with intravenous steroids, prednisone, and intravenous immunoglobulin. I do have issues remaining with depression, but definitely the psychosis is maybe at the 5% level of what is used to be, and many times of the day no psychosis is currently present at all for me. Sometimes I even have thoughts – hey, maybe it wasn’t that bad, was I really that psychotic? Maybe I am exaggerating my story? But then I look back and yes, it was terrible, it was hell.

If you listen to Quentin’s story, I had actually very similar symptoms as he describes – I had persistent thoughts that my boyfriend and my parents were in danger and that only I had to protect them with my thoughts. Then also came the idea that me being anxious about their safety is increasing the danger, so they would be safer if I didn’t exist, because it was my thoughts that were putting them in danger. And these ideas were not occasional, they were persisting every second of the day. It’s easy to realize that it’s not possible to function or have any desire to live that way, especially if you are convinced that by being alive you are putting very close people to you in danger. I don’t really want to imagine what would happen to me if I didn’t figure out that I had encephalitis and wouldn’t get the immunosuppressant treatment, or what would happen to young people like Quentin before the invention of antipsychotics. I’m glad that his treatment story is a very positive one and that currently he is doing really well, studying for his engineering degree, doing an internship at a lab, and finding interest in life.

AFTER WINTER : A Real Life Schizophrenia Treatment Story

 

Dr. Roger McIntyre: Mood Disorders and Metabolic-Inflammatory Comorbidity

Very interesting lecture found on YouTube – Dr. Roger McIntyre is a quite important guy in psychiatry here in Toronto. He is a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto and Head of the Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology at UHN. He is also the director of the first Ketamine Infusion Therapy Clinic for depression in the GTA.

So in this lecture, which was posted in 2016, he talked about how just elevated C-reactive protein, a sign of general inflamamtion in the body, leads to anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), apathy, and destuction in the brain of dopamine neurons. I wish more psychiatrists would actually listen to his lectures as well. I got a feeling, from personal experience, that some psychiatrists weren’t aware about the link between inflammaion and anhedonia, because they easily prescribed antipsychotics that cause severe weight gain. Dr. McIntyre actually speaks in the lecture against easily prescribing antipsychotics for depression, as weight gain is known to increase inflammation and therefore actually cause anhedonia/dysphoria.
So basically when an antipsychotic is described for depression – the antipsychotic reduces dopamine, since that is its function, and then further you can have death of dopamine neurons through inflammation, so that can result in complete dysphoria.

Prospective studies revealed that the average weight gain during the first year of treatment was 11.7 to 13.9 lb for clozapine, 15 to 26 lb for olanzapine, 4.4 to 5.1 lb for risperidone, 6.1 to 13.3 lb for quetiapine, and less than 2 lb for aripiprazole and ziprasidone.

Dr. Roger McIntyre: Mood Disorders and Metabolic-Inflammatory Comorbidity

 

Observations on calcium and PMS/PMDD symptoms. Observaciónes sobre calcio y síntomas de SPM/TDPM.

After several visits to the doctor, I finally received references for hormone blood tests. I definitely do not regret spending time on doctor visits and laboratory tests, because it was really interesting to observe hormonal fluctuations throughout the cycle. The results clearly showed that my progesterone level quickly rises during the luteal phase, close to 50 nmol/l. One day/several days before menstruation, my progesterone drops to 1.8 nmol / l. At the peak, my progesterone was close to the top threshold. The level was not exactly abnormal, but research indicates that some women react negatively to changes in hormone levels.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)  – a much more severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It may affect women of childbearing age. The exact cause of PMDD is not known. It may be an abnormal reaction to normal hormone changes that happen with each menstrual cycle. The hormone changes can cause a serotonin deficiency.

What is premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)?

I also came across an article in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, which states that there may be cyclical changes in calcium metabolism during the menstrual cycle in women with PMDD. Interesting points from the article:

  • Irritability, anxiety, and mania have been associated with hypocalcemia, whereas increased calcium concentrations have been noted in some patients with depression.
  • Three separate investigations have demonstrated that the dysphoria, anxiety, depression, and somatic symptoms of PMS all respond favorably to either increased dietary calcium intake or daily calcium supplementation
  • Increased calcium intake proved to benefit significantly all four major categories of PMS symptoms (negative affective symptoms, water retention symptoms, food cravings, and pain symptoms).
  • When compared with asymptomatic women, women with PMS were shown to have exaggerated fluctuations of the calcium-regulating hormones across the menstrual cycle with evidence of vitamin D deficiency and secondary hyperparathyroidism.

For the authors’ study – a total of 129 women completed the timed biochemical and hormone evaluation with 115 (68 PMDD and 47 controls) providing hormone data meeting criteria for analysis. Results – Although the screening baseline 24-h urine calcium was not found to be significantly different between the groups, the random urine calcium collections during hormonal sampling were significantly lower in the PMDD group compared with controls.

In the PMDD group, total serum calcium was found to be significantly lower at 3 points: at follicular phase 1 (menses) (9.17 ± 0.55 mg/dl, P < 0.001) compared with later phases 2, 3, and 4; at midcycle phase 3 (9.25 ± 0.55 mg/dl) compared with phase 2 (9.33 ± 0.58 mg/dl, P = 0.036); and during late luteal phase 5 (9.18 ± 0.73 mg/dl) compared with phase 4 (9.27 ± 0.55 mg/dl, P = 0.018). Ionized calcium did not fluctuate as dramatically as did total calcium, but a large difference was noted between early phases 1 and 2 of the menstrual cycle again with phase 1 having the lowest ionized calcium concentration (1.166 ± 0.072 vs. 1.175 ± 0.073 mmol/liter, P = 0.069). Intact PTH peaked in follicular phase 2 (56.9 ± 35.3 pg/ml) following the decline in serum calcium during phases 1 and 5. Follicular phase intact PTH was significantly higher than luteal phase concentrations and reached its nadir in luteal phase 4 (50.9 ± 34.4 pg/ml, P < 0.01). In conjunction with the follicular phase rise in intact PTH, serum pH was lower in the follicular phase 1 and 2 compared with midcycle phase 3 and luteal phase 4 (phase 1, 7.36 ± 0.004 vs. phase 3, 7.37 ± 0.023; P = 0.015; data not shown). The concentration of 1,25(OH)2D declined precipitously in luteal phase 4 and was significantly lower compared with all earlier phases (phase 4, 45.0 ± 27.5 vs. phase 3, 49.6 ± 27.5 pg/ml; P = 0.006). Urine calcium and 25OHD concentrations did not appear to vary between individual phases in the PMDD group.

Cyclical Changes in Calcium Metabolism across the Menstrual Cycle in Women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

 

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Después varias visitas al doctor, finalmente recibí referencias para análisis de sangre de hormonas. Definitivamente no me arrepiento de pasar tiempo en las visitas al médico y las pruebas de laboratorio, porque fue realmente interesante observar las fluctuaciones hormonales a lo largo de ciclo. Los resultados mostraron claramente que mi nivel de progesterona sube rápidamente durante la fase lútea, cerca de 50 nmol / l. Un día/ varios días antes la menstruacion, mi progesterona baja a 1.8 nmol / l. En el pico, mi progesterona estaba cerca del umbral superior. El nivel no era exactamente anormal, pero la investigación indica que algunas mujeres reaccionan negativamente a los cambios en los niveles hormonales.

Trastorno disfórico premenstrual (TDPM): una forma mucho más grave de síndrome premenstrual (SPM). Puede afectar a mujeres en edad fértil. La causa exacta de TDPM no se conoce. Puede ser una reacción anormal a los cambios hormonales normales que ocurren con cada ciclo menstrual. Los cambios hormonales pueden causar una deficiencia de serotonina.

También me encontré con un artículo en el Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, que establece que puede haber cambios cíclicos en el metabolismo del calcio durante el ciclo menstrual en mujeres con TDPM. Puntos interesantes del artículo:

  • La irritabilidad, la ansiedad y la manía se han asociado con hipocalcemia, mientras que se han observado concentraciones elevadas de calcio en algunos pacientes con depresión.
  • Tres investigaciones separadas han demostrado que la disforia, la ansiedad, la depresión y los síntomas somáticos del síndrome premenstrual responden favorablemente al aumento de la ingesta de calcio en la dieta o a la suplementación diaria de calcio.
  • El aumento de la ingesta de calcio demostró beneficiar significativamente las cuatro categorías principales de síntomas de SPM (síntomas afectivos negativos, síntomas de retención de agua, antojos de alimentos y síntomas de dolor).
  • En comparación con las mujeres asintomáticas, las mujeres con síndrome premenstrual mostraron fluctuaciones exageradas de las hormonas reguladoras de calcio a lo largo del ciclo menstrual con evidencia de deficiencia de vitamina D e hiperparatiroidismo secundario.

Para el estudio de los autores, un total de 129 mujeres completaron la evaluación bioquímica y hormonal cronometrada con 115 (68 TDPM y 47 controles) que proporcionaron datos hormonales que cumplían los criterios para el análisis. Resultados: aunque no se encontró que el calcio basal en orina de 24 h para la detección sea significativamente diferente entre los grupos, las recolecciones aleatorias de calcio en orina durante el muestreo hormonal fueron significativamente más bajas en el grupo TDPM en comparación con los controles.

En el grupo TDPM, se encontró que el calcio sérico total era significativamente más bajo en 3 puntos: en la fase folicular 1 (menstruación) (9.17 ± 0.55 mg / dl, P <0.001) en comparación con las fases posteriores 2, 3 y 4; en la fase 3 del ciclo medio (9,25 ± 0,55 mg / dl) en comparación con la fase 2 (9,33 ± 0,58 mg / dl, P = 0,036); y durante la fase lútea tardía 5 (9,18 ± 0,73 mg / dl) en comparación con la fase 4 (9,27 ± 0,55 mg / dl, P = 0,018). El calcio ionizado no fluctuó tan dramáticamente como el calcio total, pero se observó una gran diferencia entre las fases tempranas 1 y 2 del ciclo menstrual nuevamente con la fase 1 con la concentración más baja de calcio ionizado (1.166 ± 0.072 vs. 1.175 ± 0.073 mmol / litro , P = 0,069). La PTH intacta alcanzó su punto máximo en la fase folicular 2 (56,9 ± 35,3 pg / ml) después de la disminución del calcio sérico durante las fases 1 y 5. La PTH intacta en la fase folicular fue significativamente mayor que las concentraciones de la fase lútea y alcanzó su punto más bajo en la fase lútea 4 (50,9 ± 34,4 pg / ml, P <0,01). Junto con el aumento de la fase folicular en la PTH intacta, el pH sérico fue menor en la fase folicular 1 y 2 en comparación con la fase 3 del ciclo medio y la fase lútea 4 (fase 1, 7.36 ± 0.004 vs. fase 3, 7.37 ± 0.023; P = 0.015 ; datos no mostrados). La concentración de 1,25 (OH) 2D disminuyó precipitadamente en la fase lútea 4 y fue significativamente menor en comparación con todas las fases anteriores (fase 4, 45.0 ± 27.5 vs. fase 3, 49.6 ± 27.5 pg / ml; P = 0.006). Las concentraciones de calcio en la orina y 25OHD no parecen variar entre las fases individuales en el grupo TDPM.