Ketamine Treatment for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder in Southern California

Ketamine is a well-known anesthetic that was once mainly used in operating rooms and battlefields to control pain. Now, researchers have found that, in low doses, intravenous (IV) ketamine can be used to treat mood and chronic pain conditions.



Affecting an estimated 2%-10% of women of reproductive age, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), is a cyclical, hormone-based mood disorder. Neuro Wellness Spa is proud to offer ketamine therapy as a safe and effective treatment option for PMDD. IV ketamine therapy is coordinated by Dr. Martha Koo, Neuro Wellness Spa’s Medical Director. She is an active member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians. A leading authority on psychiatric disorders for over 20 years, Dr. Koo is passionate about using IV ketamine to help women with treatment-resistant PMDD. 




How is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Treated with IV Ketamine Therapy?



Traditionally, PMDD is treated with intermittent dosing of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during the luteal phase (from ovulation until menstruation).



Some women with PMDD may also respond well to oral contraceptives, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and/or supplementation with Calcium, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium.



However, many women with PMDD do not experience symptom relief with traditional treatment options. 



Recent research shows that ketamine administered at the onset of PMDD symptoms may be a safe and effective therapy for PMDD.



Studies have shown that ketamine stimulates brain cell healing and growth and has anti-inflammatory effects. A 2016 study showed ketamine accelerated the maturation of nerve cells located in the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with emotions. 



Studies have also shown that ketamine stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the growth of neurons in the brain. Researchers have observed increased synaptic connections in patients treated with IV ketamine therapy. 



Ketamine also improves neural activation, or communication between brain cells. This in turn helps improve mood and thought patterns.



So how does the therapy work? 



In certain areas of the brain, low levels of glutamate have been strongly linked to depressive symptoms. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter which ketamine has been shown to activate. If administered at the onset of PMDD symptoms, ketamine may be able to relieve symptoms and have a significant impact on mood.



During ketamine therapy, the dose of ketamine is decided based on the patient’s body weight (0.5mg/kg) and is administered at a slow and controlled pace by a trained clinician. Patients do not experience any respiratory depression during or after the treatment with ketamine.



IV ketamine does not have long-lasting side effects. Although some patients may experience sensitivity to light and/or sound and disorientation while the treatment is administered, these feelings subside quickly when the treatment is finished.



At Neuro Wellness Spa, our IV ketamine treatments usually last between 40 and 50 minutes. Our patients recline in a relaxing, private room and are monitored by a nurse during the entire procedure. Many prefer to have the lights dimmed and listen to relaxing music while the ketamine is administered. 



Unlike traditional treatments and medications, like SSRIs, most patients experience relief from their symptoms with the very first IV ketamine treatment. This improvement wanes over the subsequent 24-48 hours, but as the IV ketamine protocol continues, the symptom relief becomes increasingly sustained. The typical course of treatment includes 8-12 infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks.





What is Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder?



Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD is a severe mood disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. 



Although the onset of severity of PMDD symptoms vary between women, many women with PMDD experience the greatest severity of symptoms starting one week before the onset of period to several days post-period onset. 




PMDD may have multiple causes:

  • Genetics: PMDD, like many other mental health disorders, runs in families. People with blood relatives that have had PMDD are more likely to have it themselves.
  • Hormone fluctuations: PMDD appears to be a negative response to changes in hormone levels.
  • Environment: Exposure to hormones triggered by very stressful situations like violence, abuse, neglect, and poverty are thought to contribute to depression. 




Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder Statistics 



PMDD is a highly prevalent disorder among women of reproductive age. In fact, studies have shown that 1 in 20 women have PMDD. The actual prevalence may be even higher, as this figure does not account for missed or misdiagnosis. Studies have shown that PMDD is strongly associated with suicidal behaviors including ideation, plans and attempts. 




Signs and Symptoms of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder



Depression manifests itself in a variety of different ways. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or the same intensity. Some people may only exhibit one or two. The most common symptoms are:

  • Mood swings
  • Tearfulness
  • Anxiety 
  • Low energy
  • Changes in appetite or sleep
  • Breast tenderness and swelling
  • Water retention or bloating



If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and believe you may have PMDD, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

How Does This Therapy Feel?

At Neuro Wellness Spa, we administer low levels of ketamine in a controlled environment.


Ketamine can be used an anesthetic during surgery. However, the dosage we use during therapy is much lower.


At Neuro Wellness Spa we use FDA-approved doses and closely monitor our patients to make sure they are comfortable and relaxed.


One-on-One Consultation with an Expert Psychiatrist

A physician will begin by reviewing your medical records and consulting with you about your needs and preferences for treatment.

You will be asked some important questions.

Such as height, weight, age, and medical history as part of your treatment assessment. This information helps the physicians and medical staff prepare your treatment plan.

Ketamine infusions are administered on an outpatient basis.

Ketamine is administered through an IV, and the infusion lasts between 40-50 minutes.

Your treatment environment can have a large impact on your experience of the infusion.

Your clinician may lower the lights, offer an eye mask or aromatherapy, or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable. You might also choose some relaxing music to help you through the onset phase.

Ketamine is administered through an IV.

You will receive treatment in a private room, accompanied by a trained healthcare professional for the duration of the infusion. As the ketamine is delivered at a low and controlled dosage, your blood pressure, pulse and oxygen saturation will be monitored.

IV Ketamine therapy is fast-acting.

Although you remain aware of your surroundings, you will experience deep relaxation. It is important to enter each infusion with a positive mindset and a tranquil setting.

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Some patients may experience dizziness, nausea, dissociation or fatigue.

A complete list of possible side effects will be discussed with you prior to treatment. After a treatment session, it is important to have someone available to accompany you home safely.

Your mindset and emotional state before treatment can impact your experience of the infusion.

Prior to every ketamine infusion, we help our patients prepare intentions for their therapy. The stronger and clearer the intention, the more profound it may help the therapy to be.

Contact us today to learn more about our ketamine therapy, or visit one of our locations for an in-person consultation.