Premenstrual Tension

What and Why?

This is a topic doctors no longer ignore but cannot agree about. Its sheer frequency, and the persuasive evidence collected over the past thirty years by Dr Katharina Dalton, has forced them to accept that it exists. None of the wide variety of drug treatments offered is reliable; their cost, side-effects and potential long-term complications restrict their usefulness to the women most severely affected. Yet very few doctors have paused to wonder why so many women nowadays — estimates range from three to nine out of ten — should be mentally and physically disturbed in some degree whilst awaiting their menstrual periods, or how long-term medication can possibly be the appropriate way of dealing with a condition as common as this.

Your biological history illuminates this problem better than twentieth century biochemistry. Menstrual periods are customary but not altogether natural; they are the debris of pregnancies that your body planned and you frustrated (see also miscarriage). There must be better means of family planning and contraception available to us because many less sophisticated species employ them routinely. But few even of those women who do experience more selective menstrual function are comfortable with it. Most settle for a complex monthly conflict between bodily and mental selves, on several levels within them. Instinctive wistfulness for motherhood conflicts in their thoughts and feelings with equally reasonable cultural aspirations and economic ambitions.

Ambivalence at this level leaves the primal adaptive system without a clear-cut purpose, so that your primitive reproductive urge never adapts to modern circumstances. This leaves your genital apparatus without firm guidance; it carries on functioning at its most primitive level, of attempting pregnancy as soon and often as possible.

As if that were not enough, strong pressure from substances in your environment that imitate oestrogen (the hormone of womanhood) reduce your likelihood of producing an egg properly in the middle of each month. Those eggs that do not ‘hatch’ become small cysts, and may later enlarge to be visible in medical tests as ovarian cysts. But in the meantime you are unable to make any progesterone at all in that month, because the organ for making progesterone develops out of the broken ‘shell’ of the hatched egg.

For many people in industrialised countries, PMT may therefore be a simple matter of progesterone insufficiency. Supplements of progesterone on a regular basis were introduced by Dr Dalton and are available as a medical prescription in the UK, so your doctor can provide you with it. However, thanks to the work of Dr John Lee we now know that the dose in the Dr Dalton’s original prescription is about ten times higher than it need be, and dilution into a cream for the skin is the best way to provide that. Members of replete can, after consultation with our Director (who is a doctor) have direct assistance with this, but do ask your own doctor first. You can show him the material you print off these web pages, and he can ask us for more information if he needs it.


What can I do?

Advice to maintain and maximise your health

1. A diet for health is essential, avoiding sugar, refined flour and dairy products in particular. Coffee, tea, chocolate and cola often aggravate your symptoms enough to make stopping them worthwhile.

2. Stop smoking or reduce your intake drastically.

3. Keep your alcohol consumption intermittent, avoiding it altogether during your symptoms.

4. You will almost certainly benefit from supplements of progesterone, which are available on the NHS or by private prescription from a doctor.

5. Daily supplements of :

  • Food-state Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxin) 50mg
  • Brewer’s Yeast six to nine tablets, and food-state magnesium (three tablets of 30mg) are always worthwhile and harmless.
  • If these are disappointing Essential Fatty Acid supplements (Evening Primrose Oil Capsules) are the next to try. These supplements collectively aim to restore quickly your hormone metabolism, of which great demands are made each month. After four to six months you should be able to cope on a healthy diet alone.

6. If nervous tension, irritability and mood swings are your main symptoms, the above should cover your needs.

7. If weight gain, fluid swelling, bloating with wind or breast problems predominate add food-state Vitamin E to all this — up to 300 IU daily. Coffee, tea cocoa and cola are particularly liable to aggravate symptoms of this kind.

8. If hunger, sugar cravings, faintness, headaches or tiredness (see also Rest) figure largely in your premenstrual symptoms, hypoglycaemia may be their cause. Add food-state GTF-Chromium 60mg three times daily to your list of supplements.

9. If depression, sleeplessness, tearfulness, confusion or forgetfulness are important features, include food-state Vitamin C (250mg twice daily) among your supplements.

10. Practitioners: Beyond this you need the help of a Naturopath, Holistic Doctor, or Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner. The Pre-menstrual Tension Advisory Service and Women’s Health Concern offer experienced guidance (addresses here). Keep your own doctor informed.

11. Mental Health: Deep-seated personal conflicts may underlie your physical symptoms. List your ambitions and rank them honestly: are they unrealistic or incompatible? Your partner, a friend, a Counsellor or Psychologist can help you do this.

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