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Article: Monday Must: Ask An Expert: Dr. Courtney Ranieri

Monday Must: Ask An Expert: Dr. Courtney Ranieri

Happy Monday! We're back with our Ask An Expert series. This week we're thrilled to have Dr. Courtney Ranieri, ND. Dr. Ranieri is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who is passionate about helping optimize her patients’ health. She provides healthcare that is personalized, naturally-focused and research-driven. Her goal is to dig deeper to treat the root cause of your concerns rather than the symptoms. Here she answers some questions from our community: 

Can you explain pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder and how to treat it?

Cramping, bloating and fatigue are common PMS symptoms that can occur around your cycle. Chances are, you’ve probably experienced at least one or all of those at some point in your life. Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, is similar to PMS but is usually more severe and can have an impact daily functioning at certain times in your cycle.

PMDD usually presents with pronounced mood symptoms like depression, anxiety, irritability, feeling tearful or hopeless, and/or panic attacks. This can occur along with physical symptoms like cramping, bloating, pain, muscle aches, migraines and more. These symptoms typically occur right before, during or right after your period.

We still don’t know fully what causes PMDD in women, but we do believe a big piece to this puzzle is hormones, genetics, vitamin and/or nutrient deficiencies. They may also go hand in hand with endometriosis or PCOS.

If you experience any of these symptoms, I highly encourage you to chat with an experienced practitioner - you shouldn’t have to feel terrible!

I have PMDD and want to be able to treat it naturally. What can I be doing outside of medication to treat it?

I approach treatment of PMDD a few different ways to ensure we’re covering all our bases. First, we’ll chat about your detailed health history and get to know you and your symptoms really well.

From there, I’ll send patients for lab-work if we feel like it’s necessary to rule out any other conditions that could be causing these symptoms. This can include hormone testing, vitamin D, vitamin B12, ferritin (iron),inflammation and thyroid tests. That way we can get really specific in our treatment plans.

Next, we’ll discuss dietary approaches to help support hormonal health. There has been research to support eliminating alcohol, simple sugars and refined grains while increasing ground flax and vegetables to improve symptoms.

Nutrient deficiencies may also play a role in PMDD. Research has supported evidence that Vitamin D, Magnesium, Calcium and Omega-3 Fatty Acids may help with PMDD symptoms. Lifestyle factors like movement and sleep also factor in.

As with all things health, I focus on individualized dosing and plans for each patient - there is no cookie-cutter treatment here!

Does Postpartum Depression go away eventually? I'm 6 months PP with baby #2, on meds, but mood is still so crazy.

Post-partum depression isn’t something to feel guilty or ashamed of. We always speak about how important those first few months are for baby, but we should also be making sure we’re taking care of mama!

After given birth, hormonal fluctuations are a natural occurrence. Estrogen and progesterone are both at elevated levels during pregnancy and right after birth they start falling rapidly.

This dramatic decrease in hormones can cause a drastic shift in mood for some women. Not to mention after giving birth you’re probably not getting the greatest sleep or able to eat or move in a way you’d like to.

These hormonal fluctuations can continue for many months. This time period varies vastly woman to woman.

My approach to post-partum health is similar to PMDD and includes an in-depth initial visit to understand your pregnancy, health history, postpartum symptoms. From there we look into your hormone levels, nutritional status and put together a plan to help heal and support you.

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