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

More

20 soothing, beautiful songs guaranteed to help you fall asleep

An expert picks the ultimate classical music playlist

by Sarah Biddlecombe
20 Oct 2017

Puppy dog eyes are a thing and your dog makes them just for you

A study says dogs change their facial expressions when humans are looking

by Amy Swales
20 Oct 2017

Here’s how to buy a house or a flat for the princely sum of £1

It's time to enter the real-estate raffle

by Megan Murray
20 Oct 2017

Oxford University under fire for shocking lack of racial diversity

One MP called the revelations an example of “social apartheid”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017

This prosecco festival is the best way to start feeling Christmassy

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Missing your 16-25 railcard? We have good news for you

Rail bosses have taken pity on cash-strapped millennials

20 Oct 2017

This man’s response to his friend’s period while hiking is everything

“I had NOTHING on me and I was wearing shorts”

by Susan Devaney
20 Oct 2017

Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Rage, lust, power and warmth: how it feels to experience ‘red emotions

“I grew up being told my body was terrifying and my voice was unimportant”

by The Stylist web team
19 Oct 2017