Causes of PMS

The causes of PMS are usually associated with a hormone imbalance, such as sagging progesterone levels or a low thyroid gland function. It is important to see if any of the imbalances listed below are causing the problem.

  • Oestrogen excess
  • Imbalance between estrone, estadiol and estriol
  • Progesterone deficiency
  • High prolactin levels (some symptoms such as breast tenderness, have been linked to an imbalance of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk)
  • Underactive thyroid gland (see below)
  • Adrenal stress or fatigue
  • Oestrogen: Progesterone ratio imbalance.

Oestrogen: Progesterone ratio imbalance

An increase in the ratio of oestrogen to progesterone is associated with a number of physical changes that contribute to PMS. These include:

  • Impaired liver function
  • Reduced production of serotonin (the feel good chemical in our brain)
  • Decreased action of vitamin B6
  • Increased aldosterone secretion
  • Increased prolactin secretion

High Prolactin

High prolactin can cause sodium and water retention and is affected by oestrogen, stress, hypoglycaemia, pregnancy and oral contraceptives.

Aldosterone is elevated two to eights days prior to the onset of menses with PMS and may be implicated in fluid imbalance at this time.

Thyroid Function - One of the Causes of PMS?

Oestrogen, in particular oestradiol, and T4 (a thyroid hormone important for hormone health) appear to have a synergistic relationship in female conditions. Without an adequate level of T4 the effectiveness of oestradiol is severely reduced, or even totally halted.

An underactive thyroid gland has implications in conditions such as PMS, infertility, heavy periods(menorrhagia), continuous bleeding, poor placental function, osteoporosis and anorexia nervosa.

It is important to consider an underactive thyroid as an underlying cause of PMS. Research has shown that for many women, administration of thyroid hormone alleviates PMS, indicating that even a slightly sluggish thyroid activity should be considered even when blood tests indicate that thyroid hormone levels are normal.

Symptoms such as dysfunctional uterine bleeding, fatigue, insomnia, reduced short-term memory, dyspraxia (difficulty translating thought to action) and moderate to severe depression have all been associated with a combination of insufficient oestradiol and T4 levels.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels have been observed to be normal in these patients, and T4 may be either deficient or at the low end of the normal range.

Elevated prolactin may be linked to low thyroid function. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus), vitamin B6 and zinc can help lower prolactin levels.

Other Causes

A number of other factors are known to influence PMS symptoms, including:

  • Vitamin B6 and essential fatty acids deficiencies (good oils)
  • Calcium and magnesium imbalances
  • Blood sugar imbalance
  • Food allergy.

Read More on PMS

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