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During PMS Hormone Levels Are Fluctuating, But Other Factors Could Be The Cause

Although the exact cause of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is unknown, researchers know that during PMS, hormone levels fluctuate, estrogen levels are lower than at other months. Whether low levels of these hormones circulate in the bloodstream causes "blues PMS" or if chemicals in the brain are to blame for being investigated. Like many medical conditions, we may never know what causes PMS.

"But you know we can't help it ... we don't know the cause ... But as soon as this part comes it's menopause," sings Dolly Parton in a PMS blues song. And, Dolly's That's right. We don't know why. And, for most of us, menopause is just around the corner accompanied by hot flashes, more mood swings, weight gain and reduced sex drive. Once menopause is complete, we have increased the unique health risks to women after menopause. Is it really any wonder that we're depressed?

According to the Cleveland Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, women are twice as likely to become depressed as men, partly due to PMS hormone levels and hormonal changes that occur throughout a woman's life. About 75% of all women deal with PMS blues every month. Some sources say this figure is around 85%. So, what's different about the lucky 15-25% who don't have PMS symptoms? Again, no one knows, but there are probably several factors involved.

Stress, Diet and Exercise

Researchers have conducted numerous studies on the effects of stress, nutrition, special diets and exercise on PMS symptoms, without making any definitive conclusions. What most people can say is that "sometimes" training helps. "Sometimes" dietary changes help and sometimes supplements with the help of B-vitamins, calcium or vitamin E. The effects of PMS hormone levels are unknown.

Relaxation techniques are recommended for a number of different health conditions. The most effective condition is PMS, according to studies that evaluate a large number of other studies. Yoga and relaxation response techniques seem to be the most beneficial.

Yoga is great, but when women's schedules are full, time may be an issue. The notion of relaxation is something that any woman, regardless of physical condition, can practice daily or many times daily. To reach the maximum level of 15-20 minutes rest "quiet time" is required. It is a deep breathing exercise that involves focusing on each muscle group and intentionally relaxing those muscles, followed by deep breathing and full breath as you say the word "one".

A full description is available in the book The Relaxation Response by Herbert Benson, MD. The focus on respiratory therapy as a treatment for PMS blues is further supported by a study showing that symptoms similar to PMS are observed in patients with chronic hyperventilation.


If PMS hormone levels are not to blame for most of the symptoms, then serotonin, or lack thereof, is possible. Serotonin is a compound that helps to send signals between nerve endings in the brain and body and is believed to play an important role in regulating mood, sleep, sexuality and appetite. Studies have shown that women who experience the worst form of PMS blues (premenstrual dysphoric disorders) have lower levels of serotonin circulating in the bloodstream.

If you visit your doctor because you are concerned about the symptoms of PMS that affect your quality of life, your relationship, your work, and so on, he may have suggested or even prescribed an anti-depressant known as Serotonin Selective Re-intake or SSRI. You may be better known by the Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil brands.

Instead of focusing on changing the levels of the hormone PMS, these drugs focus on allowing the body to use serotonin more efficiently. Mostly because many unwanted side effects are associated with the use of SSRIs, researchers have investigated the effects of natural substances used by the body to make serotonin, thus, increasing circulating serotonin levels in the bloodstream. So far, 5-HTP has produced the most promising results. Some study participants have seen better results than they did when using SSRI.

PMS Hormone Levels: Low Estrogen

Because PMS hormone levels are a possible cause of PMS blues, many doctors recommend low-dose birth control pills, which contain synthetic forms of estrogen and / or progesterone hormones, to stabilize hormone levels, prevent ovulation and thus eliminate most PMS symptoms. Of course, this is not an option for women who are trying to conceive or cannot take birth control pills for any other reason.

Phytoestrogens are considered by many to be a natural substitute for synthetic hormones. Phytoestrogens are just plant components that have estrogen-like effects on the body. Found in soybeans, red clover and other plant foods, researchers believe that women with low PMS symptoms and high diets in soy and other vegetables, phytoestrogens are responsible.

Release from PMS Blues

Soy isoflavones, red clover and 5-HTP are all available without a prescription. Herbal supplements including black cohosh and sarsaparilla can help to correct hormone imbalance. If PMS hormone levels are to blame for PMS blues, then they can be helpful and also available without a prescription. The researchers did not determine whether the compounds in black cohosh and sarsaparilla were active and effective, but they concluded that they relieved symptoms related to changes in hormone levels in the majority of women. For more information on natural products that relieve symptoms of PMS, please visit the Menopause and PMS Guide.


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