June 16, 2004
Causes of PMS
In all likelihood, PMS is not caused by any one
thing, but by a variety of changes that occur during the second,
or luteal phase, of your menstrual cycle, combined with certain
lifestyle issues, including diet, stress, and physical activity.
One thing experts agree on is that PMS is related
to some kind of kink that throws off your delicate hormonal balance.
Estrogen levels typically drop after ovulation while progesterone
levels rise. If your body is producing and using the right amounts
of these hormones at the right time, you won’t get PMS. But let
one thing throw it offstress, a nutritional deficiency, an
illnessand boom! Here comes PMS. In fact, many women never
experience PMS until they have some kind of “shock” to
their endocrine system, such as childbirth, hysterectomy, tubal
ligation, or going on or off birth control pills.
Another theory, published as the result of a study
in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that women
who get PMS are extremely sensitive to the effects estrogen and
progesterone have on brain chemicals that regulate mood. Estrogen,
for instance, has a powerful effect on serotonin, a hormone-like
neurotransmitter that is closely tied to depression and appetite.
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