However, what causes the symptoms and
the condition generally known as PMS?
The main cause is your hormones.
Research has proven that women who are sensitive to hormonal fluctuations are
prone to suffer from varied PMS symptoms. Basically the primary sex hormones, estrogen
and progesterone, are out of balance, compared to their non-menstrual ratios.
Normally, the progesterone level in
the blood is higher than estrogen. The progesterone functions as the precursor
and/or regulator of several hormones including estrogen, cortisol, aldosterone
A higher level of progesterone is
important in preparing the uterine wall for the emergence of a fertilized egg,
and when egg fertilization does not occur, progesterone levels quickly subside.
In turn, menstruation take place.
The lack of progesterone, of which a
major function is the regulation of estrogen, allows estrogen to be a
temporarily dominant hormone. The increase of this essential hormone has
upsetting effects that extend beyond the reproductive system.
Part of the range of effect is an
increase in the likelihood of recognized PMS symptoms to occur, such as breast
tenderness and mood swings.
Changes in Brain Chemicals
The fluctuations in the levels of
other sex hormones also gives rise to problems in serotonin activity and
signaling. There are studies which suggest that neuro-chemistry also has
something to do with the cause and emergence of PMS symptoms. In particular,
researchers have discovered that women who are suffering from PMS symptoms have
lower levels of serotonin.
Serotonin is known as the “happy
hormone”, which means any decrease of this hormone can lead to mood
swings, anxiety and other negative emotions.
Serotonin is the key player of a
woman’s circadian rhythm (sleep cycles), stress responses, and also their
eating behaviors. The sleep problems are usually accompanied by other
compounding symptoms such as mood swings, food cravings and fatigue.
This explains why many women who
experience PMS symptoms quite often complain of difficulty in getting a good
night’s sleep. They can also experience changes in their eating behaviors, such
as stress eating or emotional eating.
A woman’s menstrual cycle subjects
her to a roller coaster of emotions and physical symptoms. This is because as
her hormones fluctuate, the hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus are also
affected. Hormones are incredibly powerful.
Although released in tiny amounts,
they are responsible for major impacts in bodily function – physical, emotional
and mental. Severity of symptoms varies for individuals and between
individuals, but to those who understand the powerful actions of hormones it is
not surprising that women suffer from a wide variety of PMS symptoms.
Hopefully as more research and
studies are conducted on PMS, and the
results made public, more people will be able to understand what is actually
causing their problems. This in turn will be helpful in the better
understanding of why some women have very valid reasons for dreading the
effects of their menstrual cycle.