Entries in PMS (3)


Study Finds Common Mineral Could Bring PMS Relief

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome, or  PMS, know the physical and emotional symptoms can often be miserable. Now researchers say a common mineral may bring relief.

Many women take iron supplements to fight fatigue. A study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology finds that an iron-rich diet can relieve the symptoms of PMS by up to 40 percent.
The researchers at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst started studying the total iron intake -- from both diet and supplements -- of some 3,000 women without PMS.
Over 10 years, a little more than 1,000 of them were diagnosed with PMS, while the others remained free of symptoms.
Those who took in over 20 milligrams a day of iron from plant-based sources and supplements reduced their risk for PMS, according to the study findings.
Scientists think the connection is that iron is needed to produce serotonin, a brain chemical involved in regulating moods.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Studies Find 'Yaz' Riskier Than Other Leading Birth Control Pills

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The blockbuster birth control pill with benefits, Yaz, was pitched as the choice for women desperate for relief from severe PMS and acne. But now, new independent studies have found that Yaz carries higher blood clotting risks than other leading birth control pills.

ABC News investigated to find that Yaz was never proven to treat common PMS.

In 2007, Carissa Ubersox, 24, was fresh out of college and starting her dream job as a pediatric nurse in Madison, Wis. On Christmas day, while working the holiday shift, her boyfriend surprised her at the hospital with a marriage proposal.

Wanting to look and feel her best for her wedding day, Carissa said she switched to Yaz after watching one of its commercials that suggested this pill could help with bloating and acne.

"Yaz is the only birth control proven to treat the physical and emotional premenstrual symptoms that are severe enough to impact your life," claimed the ad.

It "sounds like a miracle drug," Carissa said she remembers thinking.

But just three months later, in February 2008, Carissa's legs started to ache. She didn't pay much attention to it, assuming, she said, that it was just soreness from being on her feet for a 12-hour shift.

By the next evening, she was gasping for air. Blood clots in her legs had traveled through her veins to her lungs, causing a massive double pulmonary embolism.

Her fiancé called 911, but on the way to the hospital Carissa's heart stopped. Doctors revived her, but she slipped into a coma for almost two weeks.

Carissa's only memory of that time is something she refers to as an extraordinary dreamlike experience. She said she remembers a big ornate gate and seeing a recently deceased cousin.

That cousin, Carissa said, told her, "You can stay here with me or you can go back."

But, she recounted, he told her if she goes back she'll end up blind.

"I just remember waking up in the hospital and I was like, 'Oh, I guess I chose to stay,'" Carissa told ABC News.

Like her cousin in her dreamlike experience foretold, she actually did wake up blind, and remains blind to this day.

No one can say for sure whether Yaz caused Carissa's blindness, but Yaz contains a unique hormone called drospirenone that some experts say may trigger more blood clots than other birth control pills. Clots can cause serious breathing problems, a stroke or even death.

All birth control pills come with some risk. Two to four women per 10,000 on the pill will suffer blood clots, and some will die as a result. But with Yaz, several new independent studies have put that risk two to three times higher.

"It's a disappointing finding," said Dr. Susan Jick, author of one of those independent studies involving almost a million women. "As a public safety concern that's not what one wants to find."

Made by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, Yaz sales rocketed to nearly $2 billion a year after its release in 2006, making it at one time the leading birth control pill on the market and Bayer's top-selling drug.

And there was a lot of buzz surrounding Yaz, from popular women's magazines touting it as "the pill for PMS" and "super pill" to TV news segments, like one in Dallas that called Yaz, "a miracle pill that gets rid of most of the uncomfortable symptoms of PMS."

Some company executives apparently encouraged these exaggerated claims, ABC News has learned. Internal documents obtained by ABC News show their reactions: "[T]his is outstanding!!! Can we get Good Morning America to do the same segment!!!???!! (tee hee)," one executive wrote about the Dallas segment that called Yaz a miracle pill for PMS.

But the Food and Drug Administration wasn't amused. In 2008, the FDA said Yaz was not shown to be effective for common PMS, just a rare and serious form of menstrual symptoms, and that Yaz's success with acne was "misleadingly overstate(d)."

State authorities also accused Bayer of deceptive advertising.

Bayer denied any wrongdoing, but in an unusual legal settlement agreed to spend $20 million on corrective TV ads, which said, "Yaz is for the treatment of premenstrual dysphonic disorder, or PMDD, and moderate acne, not for the treatment of PMS or mild acne."

But by then, millions of women had already opted for Yaz.

Some experts say there is cause for concern about recent medical findings. Jick found it noteworthy that the studies funded by Bayer found no difference in risk, while all four of the most recent independent studies found increased risk.

Jick added that when she sent her study to Bayer, she was surprised that they never responded or asked to work with her.

"The studies that have found increased risks are not in the best interest of the company," Jick said.

Columbia University medical ethicist David Rothman added that, in general, "We have got to look at drug studies published by the company producing the products with a lot of suspicion. They have too much skin in the game."

Internal Bayer documents obtained by ABC News raise questions about some of the company's research. According to one report, Bayer apparently kept the name of one of two employees off a company-sponsored study because, according to an internal email, "there is a negative value to having a corporate author on the paper."

"It's really nefarious, a basic violation of scientific integrity, when the person who did the research doesn't even appear on the paper," said Rothman.

Thousands of women are now suing Bayer, including Carissa Ubersox, but the company continues to deny any wrongdoing. Citing those lawsuits, Bayer refused to be interviewed for this story and instead sent ABC News a statement saying Yaz is as safe as any other birth control pill when used correctly.

There are no answers yet for Carissa, whose life has changed forever. She is no longer a pediatric nurse, no longer engaged and, she said, "everything that I thought I worked so hard for has disappeared."

Yaz, she said, is to blame.

The FDA has re-opened the case on Yaz, conducting its own new review of the drug's safety. If you are considering your birth control options, experts say you should, as always, consult your own doctor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Campaign: Got PMS? Have a Glass of Milk

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for a cure to PMS? Grab some milk.

That's according to the folks behind the "Got Milk?" ads in their latest push to encourage Americans to drink more milk.

The new campaign from the California Milk and Processor Board is based on studies indicating vitamins and minerals found in milk can help alleviate pre-menstrual system cramps, bloating, mood swings and breakouts.

Yet, although the newest campaign uses PMS relief as a selling point, its' ads target men who "deal" with PMS. Soon to be released billboards depict confused men, holding gallons of milk, with a caption above them showing their inner thoughts.

The milk promoters' advertising efforts even include a new website called "Everything I Do Is Wrong," a site targeting men stressed by women experiencing PMS symptoms.

Although the ads have been labeled as sexist by critics, the message behind the billboards (milk helps cure PMS) isn't as controversial.

According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who adopted a calcium rich diet reported less severe symptoms.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio