If the viewer has read the above section on menopause, they have a good idea of what I have to say about post partum depression. This often terrifying syndrome has a number of fascinating and, I believe, very explainable aspects to it. If you have not read the section on menopause, I would encourage you to do so before proceeding. It lays some very important groundwork for what is written next.
It is all about hormones, as women so commonly volunteer in their defense. “Yes guys, they are right about this.” Once again, the pregnancy is maintained by our new friend progesterone. As the reader now understands, progesterone is a powerful hormone and is actually stronger than cortisone in its anti-inflammatory effect. During pregnancy, this compound coursing through the mother’s veins makes her nearly “bullet-proof” when it comes to immune-mediated events and reactions. For example, many moms-to-be have reported an abatement of food and inhalant allergies during pregnancy. I previously mentioned one that was totally milk intolerant unless she was pregnant. This speaks to the powerful effect of progesterone…one that “covers up” otherwise significant reactions on the part of the immune system. This is good and bad, I’m afraid. More on that in a second.
One of the major “side effects” of cortisone therapy in the pet is an increased appetite. Hmmm… That sounds a bit familiar when it comes to the pregnant woman, doesn’t it? Certainly a pregnant individual needs more calories for the proper development of the life inside of them BUT most would agree that the amount of weight (fat) gained by many woman in this condition is abnormal and is now frowned upon.
Then there is the matter of those “cravings”. As I wrote in the Food Addiction section, cravings are usually for something that your brain has become addicted to and start once the level of these addictive substances have dropped below a threshold level. The two most addicting foods are dairy and wheat due to the fact that they have both “downers” (the casomorphins and gliadorphins) and “uppers” (the neurostimulants glutamate and aspartate) in them. Cheese just has to be the most addictive food on the planet. Other food addictions include chocolate, diet drinks, and sugar. And as we established earlier, there are no physical addictions that are healthy for you…none.
So, let’s tie this up now. We have a pregnant woman with progesterone running through her veins to maintain the pregnancy. She begins having cravings induced by that cortisone-like hormone. This same “drug” is serving to reduce the inflammatory and any other type of reaction that she may otherwise have to the foods she is eating to satisfy those cravings. (Remember that dairy intolerant client of mine.) The cravings are for foods that are addictive in many cases…those that will do her harm….when the progesterone levels drop. Oh, oh.
Yes, all good things must come to an end and the “drug abuse” that has occurred during pregnancy suddenly has to come to an abrupt halt. Those women that had problems such as wheat, dairy, or soy intolerance prior to the pregnancy (and who either did or did not know that beforehand) have been suddenly subjected to a serious crisis. Their anti-inflammatory “medication” was just yanked away from them. This has the potential for resulting in a myriad of problems, ranging from allergic reactions (with subsequent histamine release, a very depressing substance) to gut damage, as seen in celiac disease, with a sudden drop in blood serotonin levels. (Celiacs very commonly suffer from acute endogenous depression from a rapid depletion of serotonin, a mood moderating hormone.) Add to that the fact that she is probably having some withdrawal symptoms from the drop in progesterone levels alone (as in cortisone withdrawal) and the reader can see why some individuals literally come apart at the seams. Depression in many of these cases can be acute and severe and can even result in violent behavior toward the child or spouse. It doesn’t just happen on Law and Order.
Now you see why I would write about such a thing on a “veterinary” site. This condition illustrates a number of the principles about which I write. But, the thing it drives home more than anything to me is the evil nature of food addictions. People make jokes about food cravings, especially within the context of pregnancy. Pickles and what? But…BUT…the cravings are a very real thing and are usually for the foods that we are trying to eliminate here, especially the number one and two allergens. Now that you have a better appreciation for the things that these foods are capable of, it should be easy to see why this topic is on the roster.