Don’t Let PMS Sink Your Marriage

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“Dear Pharmacist,

My marriage is on the rocks. Recently, my husband told me, “If
you don’t do something for your PMS, I’m packing my stuff
and leaving!” I honestly want to get well, and I’ve tried birth
control pills, Midol, countless tranquilizers and antidepressants.
I feel doped and still cry a lot and feel moody. Can you help?”

–E.R., New York, New York

ANSWER: You’re not alone in the quest to manage the monthly
madness. Saving your marriage is going to require a few more
months of patience on your husband’s part, some compliance on
your part, and forgiveness for one another’s imperfections.’
Hormones need to be in balance, so ask your doctor to do
a hormone profile to see what your levels are for thyroid hormone,
DHEA, cortisol, estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. If one of
these is out of kilter, the others are affected too and pre-menstrual
symptoms could get out of hand.

Women often try to supplement randomly with herbs and
vitamins in an effort to generate production of one of these hormones,
but it’s not smart. Too much of a good thing could fuel growth of
cancer cells. Plus, you might sprout hair in places it shouldn’t be (like
your chest) and lose it places you want it (like your head). Lovely.

A hormone specialist will know how to test you, or you can
now order home test kits and take the results to your doctor. Home
test kits usually involve saliva or urine samples and some of them
optionally offer tests that require a ‘blood spot’ (yes, this requires a gentle finger prick).

You can order hormone test kits through ZRT (www.zrtlab.
com), Virginia Hopkins (
and the late Dr. John Lee’s site ( or Meridian
Valley Labs (425-271-8689 Pacific Time). If you feel irritable
or moody, you could try a little bit of magnesium (magnesium
glycinate or citrate, about 200-300 mg once or twice daily).

Combinations that contain calcium are fine, too. Green tea
is meditation in a teacup; it contains a substance that’s instantly
calming. The Siberian herb Rhodiola rosea is calming, about 50-
100 mg twice daily. Since tearfulness is a problem, magnesium
could be particularly helpful, as well as St. John’s Wort or
5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). These may also help you sleep better.

Ask your doctor about these last two, especially if you take
medications for anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression. This is
easy: Sprinkle ground up flax seeds on your food. They help curtail
the effects of excessive estrogens in the body. You could also eat
bucketfuls of broccoli or take the supplemental form called “I3C”
(also “DIM”) which can help safely process estrogen. Fish oil (with
meals) can help reduce cramping and inflammation. There’s much
more in several chapters of my book, The 24-Hour Pharmacist.