Pyrrole disorder is a clinical condition that causes dramatic shifts in mood. It sometimes occurs alongside other mental health conditions, including:
Pyrrole disorder develops when there are too many pyrrole molecules in your body. These can strip your system of essential nutrients that play an important role in mood regulation.
Doctors don’t know how common pyrrole disorder is due to lack of diagnosis. If you have symptoms or a history of mood disorders, it may be worth talking to your doctor about pyrrole testing.
Hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) is a molecule naturally excreted via urine. Some individuals may excrete more HPL (pyrroles) than others, which indicates a toxic level of the enzyme in their body. Previously called elevated HPL, this condition is now known as pyrrole disorder.
Pyrrole molecules don’t serve any important function in the body. However, an excessive amount can cause nutritional deficiencies, particularly in zinc and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
This is because the molecules attach themselves to these nutrients and are then excreted in urine before the body has a chance to absorb them properly.
If you have too many pyrrole molecules, you may experience noticeable shifts in mood. Such changes are perhaps most noticeable in children, teenagers, and young adults.
Some common symptoms of pyrrole disorder include:
- severe anxiety
- significant changes in mood
- short temper (temper tantrums in younger children)
- severe depression
- short-term memory problems
- inability to manage everyday stresses
- histrionic (melodramatic) behaviors
- sensitivity to loud noises, lights, or both
While mood changes are perhaps the primary sign of pyrrole disorder, there are numerous physical symptoms, too. Some of the possibilities are:
- delayed puberty
- nausea (especially in the morning)
- stretch marks on the skin
- pale skin that doesn’t tan easily
- joint pain
- leaky gut
- premature graying
- white spots on the nails
- frequent infections
- irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- a “pot belly” or significant bloating
It’s not uncommon for people with bipolar disorder to also have excess pyrrole molecules. However, having pyrrole disorder doesn’t necessarily mean you have bipolar disorder, too. Sometimes pyrrole disorder may be mistaken for bipolar disorder.
Part of the confusion is due to the similarities in symptoms. Like pyrrole disorder, bipolar disorder causes changes in mood. These are marked by cycles of mania and depression, both of which may last for weeks at a time.
Some people may have more rapid and frequent shifts in mood as part of their bipolar disorder. This is better known as rapid cycling.
While not recognized as an official type of bipolar disorder, rapid cycling causes
Like rapid cycling bipolar, pyrrole disorder may cause frequent changes in mood. It’s also important to consider whether you’re experiencing some of the more physical symptoms of pyrrole disorder, too.
The exact cause of pyrrole disorder is unknown, but it’s thought to be a hereditary condition that may occur alongside certain mental health and developmental disorders.
It’s unclear whether elevated pyrrole levels are a cause of these conditions, or if these disorders lead to elevated pyrrole levels.
While pyrrole disorder symptoms are sometimes confused with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, these are two separate conditions that can sometimes occur together.
Pyrrole disorder is also commonly seen in the following conditions:
- anxiety disorders
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Down syndrome
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Tourette syndrome
Recent traumatic or highly stressful events can also increase your risk for pyrrole disorder. Examples include:
- a history of abuse
- a recent divorce
- loss of a job
- a major move
Pyrrole disorder is diagnosed with a urine assessment called a kryptopyrrole test. The purpose is to see how many HPL molecules you have in your body. An excessive amount may indicate pyrrole disorder.
You may already exhibit many of the symptoms of this disorder if your urinary pyrrole count is 20 mg/dL or above. A level of 10 to 20 mcg/dL may cause mild symptoms, if any.
While the kryptopyrrole test is the only medical diagnostic test to help determine the presence of pyrrole molecules in your system, your doctor may also evaluate your overall mental health.
They may ask you about any sudden shifts in mood, as well as whether you or your family have a history of certain mental health disorders.
There’s no current medication available to treat pyrrole disorder. Instead, most therapies focus on more functional approaches that address nutrition, stress, and lifestyle.
Given the role of HPL molecules in removing vitamin B6 and zinc from the body, it’s thought that supplementing these micronutrients could help treat pyrrole disorder. Other possibly helpful supplements include:
- omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil
- vitamin B3
- vitamins C and E, to decrease oxidative cell damage
While micronutrients such as vitamin B6 and zinc may be helpful in regulating your mood, some research is mixed as to whether taking these in supplemental form will reduce stress and anxiety.
But when pyrrole disorder depletes these nutrients, your doctor might recommend supplements to see if your shifts in mood and other symptoms improve.
If you do take supplements, it’s recommended that you stop taking them for 3 days prior to your next kryptopyrrole urine test. This will help determine whether you’re still experiencing excess HPL. Separate blood tests are needed to see if you have any nutritional deficiencies.
With proper treatment, you may expect symptoms to improve within 3 to 12 weeks.
Pyrrole disorder isn’t a recognized mental health condition, but it can pose significant changes in your mental and physical well-being.
More research is needed to determine the cause of excess pyrroles and their effects on mental health, but it’s thought to have a genetic component.
If you suspect pyrrole disorder, you can ask your doctor about a urine test to measure HPL molecules.
It’s also important to test for any possible nutritional deficiencies. There’s no current cure for pyrrole disorder, but proper nutrition and stress management may help manage it.
Follow up with your doctor if you struggle with any changes in mood. This way they can do a complete evaluation and provide the proper referrals.