Up to 8 Percent of Women Suffer from This. Now Scientists Know Why.

Up to 85 percent of women suffer from premenstrual syndrome.  PMS is caused by monthly hormone changes.  Symptoms can include acne, pain, appetite change, tension or mood swings.

About 3 to 8 percent of women suffer from a more extreme form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder, where symptoms are so severe they become debilitating.  PMDD has been recognized as a medical disorder since 2013, but its causes have been unknown.  Current medications only treat the symptoms, which can include depression and anxiety.

Research has shown that PMDD is characterized by a unique sensitivity to the ovarian steroid hormones released during menstruation.  Now, scientists at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health may have found the biological reason for this.  In a recent study, they discovered that – within a specific set of genes – there is a difference in mRNA and protein expression between women who experience PMDD and women who do not.

“We believe the findings from this study present for the first time cellular evidence for abnormal steroid signaling in cells from women with PMDD,” the researchers write.  They hope their work will lead to better drugs and therapeutics for PMDD.

An Agilent Bioanalyzer system was used to ensure quality and integrity of the RNA.

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