PMS + IBS =Misery

A PERIOD OF RETREAT – For some women, the beginning of a period can signify not just headaches and cramps but also hourly trips to the loo. Experts believe the hormonal shift that triggers bleeding is probably responsible for the bout of busy bowels.
Before a period, a woman’s body pumps out prostaglandins-hormone like chemicals that make smooth muscles (like those in the uterus) contact. That prostaglandin spike is great for sloughing off uterine tissue, but not so fun when it contracts the intestines and causes symptoms similar to irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). One solution is the pelvic exercises that are typically prescribed for pregnant women. If they does not work, pop an ibuprofen as directed the day before your period (when prostaglandin levels start to peak). The painkiller will help keep levels low- and temper the side effects. Also helpful: Less stress, caffeine, and alcohol, and more healthy food and exercise.

Related Links: Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder PDD
Depression in Women
Postpartum depression

Additional Serious Health Hazards of Depression

One study of ten thousands met and women over sixty five with blood pressure readings higher than 160/95 found that over a three-year period, the ones with symptoms of depression suffered strokes at almost three times the rate of their hypertensive but un-depressed peers. Depressed patients recovering from a hip fracture and from pneumonia and other infections had more difficulty regaining functions like walking. Other research suggests that up to one third of Alzheimer’s patients become clinically depressed at some point in the course of this illness. Doctors, and families, too, often take a fatalistic approach to Alzheimer’s and do nothing about the depression, even though some of the afflicted will make small but significant improvements when treated for it.
Psychiatrists who specialize in treating cancer patients say that mush the same problems arise there as well. Doctors fail to prescribe an antidepressant because they think, “If I had that illness I had feel dreary, too.” Often, cancer-related problems, such as pain, are prominent provokers of depression –another major reason some patients adopt adopt what physicians think of as a “rational” approach to suicide.

What to Do About Antidepressants If You Are Nursing

There is no evidence to support fears that taking an antidepressant while nursing I harmful to the infant. Dr. Cynthia Neill Epperson of Yale University is one of the many researchers who have put this to the test. She recruited infants of depressed mothers, some breast-fed and others not, and then measured the level of antidepressant (in her work, Zoloft, which targets   serotonin) and of serotonin in the infants’ blood. Reporting on her work, Epperson states that she detected no Zoloft in their bloodstreams and that there was no change in the level of serotonin in most of the infants. She concluded, with the scientist’s reserve, that “it does not appear that the administration of Zoloft in breast-feeding women is likely to have a physiologic effect on their children.”
 Many depressed women derive much-needed joy from breast-feeding and become even more upset when deprived of the opportunity. Physicians who still caution against combining antidepressants with feeding except when the illness is severe recommend substituting a bottle once or twice a day to further reduce any possible risk. As always with depression, each sufferer should take into consideration all the known facts and with the of her doctor   make an informed decision. What is right for one person may be wrong for another.

Kudos for Meditation

Meditation, which originated in India, had an almost twenty-five-hundred-year run as a physical and mental health booster and then was stopped dead by modern medicine. Until, that is about thirty years ago when DR. Herbert Benson coined the term “relaxation response.” Since then it has been gaining ground. In 1998 Congress gave the NIMH $10 million to expand a network of mind-body research centers and provide training for health workers in a variety of meditative approaches.
The purpose of meditation, one popular version of which is called “mindfulness,” is to open the mind to sensations and thoughts and temporarily tune out everyday life. Not only does this induce calm, it also can bring about specific, quantifiable changes in the body. Most who consistently practice meditation feel different and better afterward, but a least five people now have provided specific proof that something beneficial has in deed happened.
In a 1999 study conducted by a Harvard team of researchers, five accomplished meditators spent about forty minutes in an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) machine, started at a dot on a computer screen, thought up random list of animals, and mediated. The resulting pictures of their brains showed that the regions that process positive emotions and influence cardio-respiratory function were most active during the meditation.

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