Girl Stuff

I went to my yearly gyno check-up last week - Happy Happy, Joy Joy :frowning:

While there, I happened to mention that I get really sad for no reason only a couple of days each month and then - BOOM - it goes away and I am my old cheery self again. They took blood samples to check my hormone level to see if my remaining ovary was working all right (I had a hysterectomy 4 years ago but they left one ovary so I wouldn’t have to do the hormone thing.)

He just called today and said that everything looked fine and that I was probably suffering from PMS. WHAT? I NEVER had PMS before and the sad mood swings just started about 6 or 7 months ago. But whatever. . . . Maybe it’s my :::gasp::: . . . . . age.

He suggested that I either go on birth control pills to prevent my ovary from releasing hormonal changes or go on the anti-depressant Paxil.

Before I decide which one I am going to start taking, if any, I would love to hear about experiences any of you may have with the drug Paxil. I have never even considered taking anti-depressants, so I haven’t really looked into them.

I do have clients who are on the drug, although I do not follow their medication history. I have noticed that this drug is important in their every day functioning. However, I will only be using it to control depression for 2 or 3 days each month during my PMS ::::sob:::: cycle.

So, from your experience, birth control pills, Paxil, or nothing? I am leaning toward not taking anything, but I would like to hear the experience of those who have tried it.

Thanks :smiley:

Seven days of sex makes a whole week.

I’m but a spring chicken (27) but I have always had a few very depressed-angry days of PMS, which I denied the existence of for a long time (hint, guys: if the woman is being sad/mad, and you think it’s PMS, do NOT say so, because even if it is true she will kill you). You know, suddenly sobbing because you grated the cheese with the wrong side or forgot to floss, etc. A boyfriend finally very carefully brought up the fact that whenever I realized everything between us was all wrong and this was the camel back-breaking straw, it was strangely one month since our last near- breakup…
Since I’ve gone on the pill though, these out-of-control emotional moments are toned down quite a bit (and I’m less clumsy and inarticulate then, too (other PMS side-effects I’ve noticed in myself). Helped a lot.

FYI… your body changes every ten years, give or take a few years, and what was normal before is not always what is normal for you now. It is with all things. Allergies, hormones, etc. The big question is HOW much it affect your life. Are you an emotional basket case thinking of suicide; is it threatening the security of your job or family; or are you just sad and a bit more emotional. Sometimes ppl forget that crying is a healthy outlet and is not something you have to prevent yourself from doing. I guess what I am trying to say is you have to be the judge of what you need. If I can get by without the drug, then it is my first choice, but if my well being is threatened by not using it then that is the choice. I hope this helped any.

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good
things.” --Edgar Degas

I think it would be a very good thing to examine the differences the mood swings are making in your life. If you recognize them, they must be at least somewhat manageable without drugs. While Paxil is not an extremely toxic drug, no psychotropic medication is innocuous. If the benefit needed in your life is serious, and your own emotional resources are not up to it, then it could very well be a great benefit. I know of several people who have left ongoing misery behind shortly after starting on the drug.

Drugs are sometimes offered to people under the mistaken impression that the discussed difficulty is a major disruption to the patient’s life. Taking a drug is an intrusive and perhaps irreparable chemical change in the brain, and should never be done for minor reasons. While I am not a physician, I can tell you that many drug-related improvements in emotional condition are difficult to maintain without increases in the use of the drug, or the use of more and different drugs. The mind, heart and spirit are not simply tended to with pills. Take good care of yourself, in all ways.

Best wishes.

<p align=“center”>Tris</p>


I don’t get suicidal or not able to function, but I have these delusions that everything is falling to shit, my job, the house, the bills, the kids, the boyfriend, everything (it really isn’t, but I don’t realize it until those few days are over).

It takes every last effort to pull myself out of bed, let alone, handle all the responsibilities of a career as well as being a single mom, but somehow I manage to do it without anyone noticing anything is wrong.

If I didn’t have responsibilities, I could easily stay in bed and cry for 3 days, without eating or even getting dressed. I can’t do that, so I fake like things are okay and go on my daily business, although I feel like bursting into tears or screaming at any moment.

I stay away from the guy I am dating during these few days because I have this incredible urge to tell him to go to hell if he even looks at me wrong.

Then usually about the 3rd or 4th day, I wake up and everything is wonderful! Life is good and the sadness is forgotten.

So yeah, I am functional, although it takes effort. I hate taking medications of any type, but if there was something to carry me through those few days, I may be willing to try it, especially if I hear from others who have had good luck with it.

Seven days of sex makes a whole week.

That is a good point that I will bring up to my doctor before I decide. I don’t want to get tied down to a pill bottle.

Seven days of sex makes a whole week.

Diane I think with some of the anti depressants on the market today you have to take them for some time before they actually have the desired effect, just to get the levels where they should be. So, im not really sure if that would be beneficial vs. added mood swings while it kicks in. Im the same, there are about three days every month where I’d be quite happy to just be left alone and feel like if some one looks at me the wrong way i’ll either cry or explode. I take the pill and dont really have the other pms symptoms for the most part. Someone at work was telling me it was an age thing ugh!! Good thing they didnt say that on one of those three days wink… I hope it works out for you.

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by
embracing one another


I’m 29, on the pill, and have been my whole life practically (well, since I was 16 at least.) When I was around 21, I noticed a lot of the symptoms you describe - maybe not as badly as you have 'em, but I was definitely waaay depressed right before my period every month.

I mentioned this to my ob/gyn, and she did 2 things. First off, she put me on a very low dosage pill. Second, she told me that both the pill and alcohol drain Vitamin B from your system. I was 21, therefore drinking & partying quite a bit. I started taking Vitamin B tablets, and mysteriously my depression went away.

Also, try using St. John’s Wort before you go on something like Paxol. I went through a really stressful stage in my life a couple years ago, and took SJW and Vit. B every day, and it seemed to help quite a bit.


I think I’d stay away from the Paxil if I were you, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

I’ve been on it over 2 years myself. I don’t know if I should see about getting off it. I started taking it after my father died. At the same time he was dying, my job underwent drastic changes and I began suffering from panic attacks and uncontrollable crying jags. My MD and a social worker diagnosed it as depression and anxiety, and recommended Paxil “to take the edge off” and counselling. However, I haven’t really pursued the counselling, and if I miss even a day or two of the Paxil (I have a hard time getting to the pharmacy to get prescriptions refilled), I become an emotional wreck, sobbing over every little scrap of paper I have to throw away, or every time my parents yelled at me when I was 5, and so on. And I feel sick as a dog; nauseated and headachy. But pop a Paxil and everything is smoothe sailing again.

I feel like a freaking junky, but I’ll probably never get off the stuff as long as I keep putting off the counselling to help me deal with my problems (and everytime my MD suggests going off, it’s usually in the midst of some new emotional crisis and I convince him I need a refill instead). So, considering your problem is hormonal and not something that could theoretically be “fixed” with a little therapy, I’d be wary of making any long-term commitments to the drug. Then again, most people are probably more responsible with 'scrips than I am.

“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy

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I’m certainly no expert on PMS (wrong gender) but I have taken antidepressants for several years and Paxil for over a year. My doctor continually emphasises what CanadianSue outlined above – you have to take an antidepressant for a while before it really starts working. If I miss a dose there is some effect, but not much, but if I stop taking it altogether (my doctor had me do this a few months ago to see if it was still necessary) I get depressed (duh!).

So I don’t understand the two or three days a month dosage.

But otherwise I’m much better off with the medication than without it. The first antidepressant that was prescribed for me (Anafranil? I can’t remember exactly) was very alarming – it gave me panic attacks. (I was suffering from “High Anxiety”!) But the doctor put me on a slightly different antidepressant (Luvox) which worked very well for me. As I’ve said here before, the medication didn’t solve my problems, but it gave me the strength to work on them. The only side effect for Luvox was its high price. Paxil works as well and is much more reasonably priced. (I have excellent health coverage and only pay a small portion of the actual price for prescriptions, but my HMO kicks if the doctor prescribes high-priced medicines.)

So by all means try the vitamin-B therapy and other less drastic means of dealing with your problem, but don’t discount Paxil. I haven’t experienced any significant side effects (I have to take it in the morning or it keeps me awake) and it works well for me. But antidepressants are quirky – what works for me may not work for you. Work with your doctor – if you don’t get results, let him know. He’s got quite a few options, you don’t have to settle for the first.

But you shouldn’t have to be miserable for ten percent of your life. Be grateful you live in a time when they can do something about it.

If man was meant to fly faster than the speed of sound he would have been born with 50,000 pounds of thrust.

I went back on the pill about 10 mos ago in an effort to combat totally emotionally debilitating PMS. It works for me. End of story.

P.S. Please don’t tell anyone I weighed in here. Many of them still haven’t the faintest clue what gender I am and I think it’s funny as hell.

I vote for trying the St. John’s Wort first. But then I think drugs should be a last resort. I used to have mood swings (not PMS), and the SJW does help. It isn’t an “upper” – there’s no dramatic effect, it just kinda levels out your mood. As far as I know, an anti-depressant has to be taken for about a week before its full effects are felt; if so, you’d have to take it for more than just 3 or 4 days a month. As for the pill - I was on birth control pills for about 12 years, and when I went to a new OB-GYN, he had a cow that I’d been taking them that long (I opted for a tubal ligation and that took care of that).

I, personally, don’t trust anti-depressant drugs any farther than I can throw the average pharmacy employee, but if you’re really having a hard time dealing with these mood swings, and you don’t think that anything else will keep you out of the loony bin, then go for it. Back when I was an anorexic manic-depressive, drugs were suggested to me several times, but I always vehemently objected. I’m over that now, and never had to take a pill to accomplish that, not even at my various lowest ebbs (which, oddly enough, occured regularly. Once a month, as it happens…) I’m extremely proud of this. So, my prescription: Drugs? Maybe, but only as a last resort. Find other ways to work through your feelings first.

God is dead. -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead. -God
Neitzsche is God. -Dead

[q]I vote for trying the St. John’s Wort first. [/q]

Political assessments of the FDA, AMA, or any other interest group aside, there is no real difference between taking one substance to change your biochemistry and taking another. A substance that changes your bodily functions is a drug. Call it an herb, call it pharmacology, call it witchcraft, it is the same thing.

<p align=“center”>Tris</p>

I appreciate all the suggestions - Thanks!

I am going to call my doctor today and see what he thinks about SJW and vitamin B. It sounds like the direction I want to go first (and hopefully last).

Seven days of sex makes a whole week.


I have the same kind of PMS that you have. It’s tremendously disruptive, I know; I just want to cry, and stay in bed all day.

Last October, there was an article in the New York Times about a study that had been published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, I think. The study found that taking a moderate (600 mg/day) dose of calcium helped prevent PMS symptoms, including mood swings and cramps.

WTF, I think; I’ll try it. We’re all supposed to be taking calcium supplements anyway, right? So I’ve been taking a 600 mg calcium + vitamin D every night (well, every night that I remember to take the damn thing) for about 3 months. I just finished up my period, and I had no mood swings this month. I couldn’t believe it.

According to the Times article, you have to take the calcium supplements for a while (a few months) before you see any effect. So it may be working.

I discussed antidepressants with my gynecologist, and also with my husband (who is a psychiatrist), and they were both negative about it. Of course, they weren’t having mood swings, either.

I’ll try to find the URL for the Times article and post it.

Best of luck!

Never attribute to malice anything that can be attributed to stupidity.
– Unknown

Calcium Takes Its Place as a Superstar of Nutrients

Never attribute to malice anything that can be attributed to stupidity.
– Unknown

I’m on the pill now, but before I went on it, I too used to get really depressed a couple of days each month. The pill (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) has totally helped me, though it’s worth mentioning that my symptoms didn’t manifest right before my period, but rather two weeks before, when I ovulated.

I took Paxil for about … 5 or 6 years. I recently (in the last month) switched to Celexa in hopes that my sex drive would return. I’d try the BCP first, since it doesn’t mess with your head as much.

O p a l C a t

Late joining in - sorry.

Diane, your description of what’s going on certainly sounds like some intervention is warranted. Ordinarily I’d tell you to ask close friends and/or co-workers how much of a difference do they notice, but the fact that you’re actively avoiding your boyfriend pretty well guarantees that, yes, it IS noticeable to others.

I agree that whether a substance is labelled a vitamin or an herbal supplment “not intended to diagnose or treat any disorder”, an OTC drug, or a prescription drug matters little in deciding whether to go on it or not. But one side effect too often overlooked by docs is the psychological impact of taking drugs (heck, we spend most of our time prescribing drugs; the fact it is life-changing to our patients is trivial, they’ll get over it ;)) and the effects of a patient’s belief systems on the effectiveness of the drugs.

Given the views you’ve expressed here, a reasonable plan might be:

  1. A brief trial of the Vitamin B/St. John’s wort (maybe 3 months or so)
  2. Birth control pills, unless you have a history of clots, are trying to get pregnant, or have some other reason to avoid these. Since the depression only affects you a few days/month, it seems more reasonable to balance the female hormane swings that create the depression, rather than treat the depression full-time.
  3. Paxil or some other anti-depressant as a third choice for all the reasons listed in the previous posts & your own feelings about it.

Whatever you decide to do, even or especially if you’re trying the herbal/vitamin approach, stay in touch with your doctor.

Sue from El Paso