Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

“This is a big moment for women’s health”: scientists confirm PMT could be a genetic condition

iStock-516136270.jpg

Scientists have made a “significant breakthrough” in our understanding of pre-menstrual tension (PMT), with the discovery that some women’s genes behave differently as their hormones fluctuate during their monthly cycle.

It was previously thought that the common psychological symptoms of PMT, which can include anxiety, depression and insomnia, were due to a fluctuation of chemicals in the brain, triggered by the hormonal changes that occur before a period.

These symptoms can be severe, and the NHS states around one in 20 women will suffer from persistent sadness, extreme anger or very low self-esteem.

But the new finding by researchers at the US-based National Institutes of Health (NiH) gives hope that a cure for the condition could be on the horizon.

cells

“This is a big moment for women's health,” David Goldman, one of the NiH researchers, told The Telegraph.

“It establishes that women have an intrinsic difference in their molecular apparatus for response to sex hormones - not just emotional behaviors they should be able to voluntarily control.”


Read more: Teens in Nepal document the stigma surrounding periods


Researchers at the NiH made the discovery by comparing white blood cells from women who suffer from severe PMT with white blood cells from those who never experience any symptoms. They discovered a set of genes that behaved differently when exposed to an increase of the hormone oestrogen, with cells from PMT sufferers decreasing in activity while cells from non-sufferers were boosted.

They concluded that women with severe PMT were genetically more sensitive to the changes in hormones that occur throughout the monthly cycle than those without PMT, disproving the general belief that the condition is simply due to mood swings.

"Learning more about the role of this gene complex holds hope for improved treatment,” added NiH researcher Dr Peter Schmidt.

Related

rexfeatures_7555154cc.jpg

Katie Piper: “I relied on alcohol to get me through dark times”

Knox-verdict.jpg

Amanda Knox on why innocent women confess to crimes they didn’t commit

kim cattrall main.jpg

Kim Cattrall is on board with the ‘plan your own funeral’ trend

Comments

More

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

New report: endometriosis symptoms often “dismissed” by doctors

42% of women said they were “not treated with dignity and respect” by doctors

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Airline defends decision to ban girls from flight for wearing leggings

The incident was “sexist and sexualised young girls”, according to an observer.

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017