The latest PMS depression information indicates that a woman's serotonin levels may be lower in the two weeks preceding her period. Doctors often prescribe antidepressants for these symptoms. There are natural herbs for PMS that may relieve mild to moderate symptoms of depression, but these should not be used in conjunction with prescription antidepressants, unless you are under a doctor's supervision.
Depression is a very serious condition, but is not always recognized as such. The World Health Organization estimates that 5-10% of the population is suffering from depression at any given moment. The life-time risk of developing depression is higher for women than men. Many believe that changing hormonal levels related to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and the menstrual cycle account for the increased incidence of depression among women. However, there is no clear understanding of the roles that hormones play in mood disorders such as depression. There are only theories.
The latest PMS depression information indicates that during premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a more severe form of PMS affecting about 10% of all menstruating women, levels of serotonin circulating in the blood stream are lower than normal. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, meaning that it helps to transmit signals between nerve endings in the brain and body. It is believed to be important in regulating mood, appetite and sleep cycles. It is known that those who suffer from depression have low levels of serotonin in the brain.
While the most commonly recommended natural herbs for PMS may not address the issues of depression, mood and serotonin levels, a natural product created from the seeds of an African plant contain a component that is called a serotonin precursor. This is a natural compound that the body can use to create serotonin. The compound is called 5-HTP and is available in the form of dietary supplements, though not commonly found in discount stores and pharmacies.
Some health supplement companies use 5-HTP combined with other natural herbs for PMS symptoms to achieve the greatest relief. Black cohosh, chasteberry, sarsaparilla and red clover are examples of herbs that may be combined with 5-HTP to relieve most, if not all of the symptoms associated with PMS, including depression.
PMS depression information from doctors indicates that diagnosis is made based on the time of the month that a woman has symptoms. The symptoms of depression include unexplained sadness, tearfulness and loss of interest in hobbies or other enjoyable activities. Sleep problems are often present and in the worst cases, women may have thoughts of suicide. If these symptoms occur in the two weeks leading up to the menstrual period and then are relieved during the first couple of days of menstruation, then they are probably caused by changing hormonal levels associated with PMS.
When symptoms of depression are present throughout the month and seem to be unrelated to the menstrual cycle, then it is not PMS depression. Information supplied by researchers at the Department of Public Health in Italy indicates that women with bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder have higher than normal concentrations of progesterone and cortisol (a stress hormone), as well as increased levels of other neuroactive steroids during the two weeks preceding menstruation. This could mean that women who are suffering from another form of depression could experience worsening symptoms during the weeks leading up to her period.
Natural herbs for PMS relief are not believed to interfere with performance of prescription medications. However, use of 5-HTP and a prescription antidepressant, could lead to serotonin toxicity or poisoning. Too much of a good thing can be bad. Check with your doctor for more PMS depression information. If you are not currently taking a prescription antidepressant then a dietary supplement like 5-HTP can help.