Saturday, 27 May 2017

PMS – Pre-Menstrual Syndrome – How to cope

PMS—premenstrual syndrome—is a blight on the lives of many women of reproductive age and their families. I know, because I was one of them.


For a lucky few, the symptoms are hardly noticeable. For others it is like world war three, turning a usually stable woman into a psychotic manic depressive for one or two weeks every month. Characterised by excessive mood swings, temper tantrums, unreasonableness, depression, PMS has been responsible for women attacking their partners and children and even committing suicide and murder. So although men may snigger at it, and others take it with a pinch of salt as an excuse for bad behaviour, it is not a subject to be taken lightly.

Worse, many women have no idea that it is their monthly cycle which is affecting them so badly. Even when I had been diagnosed with PMS I still did not recognise that the reason I was feeling so bad was because of those pesky hormones. Under the influence of PMS I have smashed a window with my bare fist, attacked my husband, nearly killed my 5 year old daughter, considered killing myself. You get the picture.

So what changed my life?

Surprisingly, it was a book by Adelle Davis written in the 1970s called Let’s Get Well. Working on the principle that many of our common ailments are caused by bad nutrition, she uses research to suggest that a lack of certain vitamins and minerals can lead to all sorts of physical problems. With regard to PMS (or premenstrual tension as she calls it) she cites a study (page 221) which showed "starting approximately ten days prior to menstruation, when the ovaries are the least active, the blood calcium drops steadily and progressively. Such a calcium decrease results in premenstrual tension, nervousness, headaches, insomnia, and mental depression . . . Crimes of violence committed by women take place mostly during this period." She went on to advise taking tablets containing calcium and magnesium, and a vitamin D supplement.

So I thought, ‘What have I got to lose?’ Out I went and bought calcium and magnesium tablets, and they also contained vitamin D. Within an hour or two of taking them, the symptoms disappeared. It was as if a fog suddenly cleared, and I became normal. I felt better, I no longer had uncontrollable rages. Wow! Flushed with this success, I reported back to the doctor, who laughed. (She'd been no help in any case!) That was back in the eighties. Today, the benefits of calcium and magnesium in treating PMS are more widely recognised. And magnesium seems to be the real goodie here.

“Zinc, calcium, and magnesium are three of the most important minerals essential for good health. Magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium by the body, while zinc actively supports the body’s immune system. Women of all ages benefit immensely from the intake of magnesium. Besides keeping osteoporosis at bay, magnesium health benefits in women include relief from symptoms of menopause and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It also minimizes the risk of premature labor.” – http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/Magnesium-health-benefits-supplements/2014/10/01/id/369647/
So how much calcium should we take? Doctor Adelle Davis recommended that we should take half magnesium to calcium. So, if we take a supplement*, it should contain, say, 400 mg. calcium and 200 mg. magnesium. It might contain more or less, but the ratio should be the same.

Not to be overlooked is the benefit of Vitamin B6. “The B6 vitamin is needed for proper brain development and function and to make the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine which affect mood.” – http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/benefits-of-vitamin-b6.aspx 

The NIH [National Institutes of Health] also considers vitamin B6 "possibly effective" for alleviating upset stomach and vomiting during pregnancy, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (including breast pain and depression) and behavioral disorders in children with low levels of serotonin (a brain chemical involved in regulating mood).”
https://www.verywell.com/vitamin-b6-what-you-need-to-know-89527

In Britain, the government have recommended no more than 50 mg of B6 daily.

If you are taking any medication or have other health issues, consult a doctor before taking supplements.

As for me, I take a calcium and magnesium tablet every day, as well as B6, even though I am long past the menopause. Why? Because I find even now that if I don’t, within a day or two, I start to go down, become irritable, and depressed.

My mother also suffered from severe osteoporosis, and two of my daughters showed very low bone density on a scan. Meanwhile, my bone density showed 120%, way above what it needed to be, which is excellent news.

So benefits all round.

Of course, not every woman responds to the same therapy. In the event of severe depression, seek the help of a qualified doctor.

____________________

* Just so you know, I found one ‘own brand’ calcium/magnesium supplement from a well-known British health food chain to be totally ineffective. 

Evelyn Tidman is the author of historical novels, available on Amazon.
Website, www.evelyntidmanauthor.com

Monday, 27 February 2017

More about formatting books for print or Ebooks: Back to front Apostrophes

As writers formatting our own books, we can fall foul all sorts of hiccups. One of them is apostrophes facing right instead of left! It spoils the book for me as a reader and screams ‘self published.’ What we all want is nice professional text. So how can we fix those pesky apostrophes.

Now I am not talking about those apostrophes which denote possessiveness, as opposed to plurals. There are other excellent notes on those should you need to look them up. No, I’m talking about those denoting missing letters. And not to be forgotten are the speech marks.

As everyone using Word knows, apostrophes do not always do what you want them to. For example, in historical speech, or in colloquial speech, a writer might want to drop an initial letter, as in ’tis for it is, or ’ard for hard. Each time an initial apostrophe needs to be added. The trouble with Word is that if you put an initial apostrophe at the beginning of a word, it comes out back to front, eg.:

            ‘Tis raining ‘ard tonight.

How can we turn the apostrophe around?

Depending on which version of Word you are using it might be a simple matter. Such as holding down Control and hitting the apostrophe key twice to get a left-facing apostrophe.

            ’Tis raining ’ard tonight.

Another method is to put in two apostrophes. Because two together will face each other.

            ‘’Tis raining ‘’ard tonight.

Then go back and delete the unwanted one. Long winded but effective.

A third method is to go to Insert > Symbol > and scroll through until you find what you want, and click on it, click insert. Also long-winded. But from this menu, before you click insert, you can make a permanent code for this symbol by going to shortcut key. Add a code of your choice, in this case control + ’ + ’. (Word automatically adds the + and , symbols. ) Click assign.



By this means (and using a different code) you can add any symbol you like. For example, in my book Gentleman of Fortune, the heroine was called LĂșcia. So I needed to access the accent mark quickly. I put that also on the apostrophe key, and made it control plus one tap on the key. So I would type:

L[control + ’]ucia.
When the ‘u’ was hit the accent would appear above it. (In the end after about fifty thousand times of doing this, I decided to put LĂșcia on the autotext. Wish I’d thought of it sooner!)

Finally, a word about dashes—that is the two –  (small dashes) together to make a long dash—If your version of Word doesn’t do it, it is found on Insert > autotext > auto format as you type; check the appropriate box. This looks nice and professional when you have a printed book.

However, suppose you want to say at the end of a paragraph:

            I cannot stay, I really can’t—

If you just type the sentence, when you hit space, or return for the paragraph it will come out like this:

            I cannot stay, I really can’t--

No long dash. You need to add a full stop, apostrophe, etc., to the end, or a letter then space, you will get the desired effect:

            I cannot stay, I really can’t--n plus space

Of course you need to delete the letter [n] or full stop, or whatever, and the dash will remain a long dash. Job done.


Simple when you know how!


Evelyn Tidman is the author of four historical novels.
Available on Amazon at http://Author.to/ETidman
Website: www.evelyntidmanauthor.com