PMS Monkey Brain

| September 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

I posted earlier about PMS being much more than mood swings and irritability. You infomaniacs with an interest in learning more on this subject should get the book “Unmasking PMS” by Joseph Martorano M.D. and Maureen Morgan R.N. As if on cue, one of you had a PMS melt down with a symptom most would not associate with PMS. Amanda Thompson calls it “monkey brain”. Your brain takes off like a little monkey and does its own thing. You need it to be on task to go over a legal deposition or get other work done and it’s chasing bananas. By understanding the hormonal biochemistry of “monkey brain”, you can put your brain back on its leash.

There are several hormones that can be imbalanced to cause symptoms of PMS. This is why symptoms can vary widely in different people. Some women get migraines, some get menstrual cramps, some get bloated. Sex drive can go up; it can go down. Monkey brain is caused by “estrogen dominance” in a high T woman (you know who you are). Estrogens (estradiol) is balanced with progesterone like your car accelerator is paired with your brakes. Estrogen revs things in the brain up (paranoia, anxiety, monkey brain, insomnia, panic attacks, racing/irregular heartbeats). Progesterone puts the breaks on. Progesterone is the body’s natural anti-anxiety hormone. If estrogen is dominant over progesterone, it can be like having your accelerator stuck and no brakes. Things will come out your mouth that are not meant for public viewing. The brain can start going in several directions all on its own. You have no control.

This will usually happen during a 10-day window between ovulation and the first day of bleeding (I know you guys are loving this about as much as a discussion about Maxi Pads). This is when estrogen levels peak for a given cycle. Normally, with ovulation you should start producing progesterone that will neutralize the elevated estrogen. If that doesn’t happen or if not enough progesterone is produced–helloooo monkey brain.

Ovulation is the release of an egg from the sac carrying it called a follicle. Once the egg is released, this follicle becomes the “corpus luteum”. The corpus luteum produces the progesterone. Some women produce inadequate amounts of progesterone from the first menstrual cycle. In others, progesterone deficiency results from “an ovulation”–failure to produce an egg from an ovary. No egg=no corpus luteum=no progesterone=monkey brain or other symptoms of PMS. In your 40’s, it’s common to start having anovulatory cycles. This is the beginning of peri-menopause. Women who never had a PMS symptom in their lives may start to have symptoms in their 40’s. The treatment plan is outlined in the article below.

I know what you are thinking (I usually do) “I took the progesterone and it made things worse”. This is because in some women, progesterone can improve the effects of estrogen. In this case, estrogen has to be further damped down by adding DIM. DIM is a natural chemical found in vegetables in the cabbage family. It breaks down estrogen. So, start taking 300 mg of DIM each day along with the Her Balance and say goodbye to monkey brain.


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Category: General Health, Women's Health

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