PMS, Genetics, and Solutions

A lot of women know the moodiness and brain fog that comes with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The symptoms can range from simply feeling irritable and icky to being something that interferes with your normal lifestyle.

Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder:

What role do genes play in PMS?

It has been shown in the past few years that there is a genetic component, especially for a severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). A 2011 study of twins estimated the heritability of PMS was around 95%.[ref] PMS affects about 30-40% of women, while the rarer PMDD affects only 3-8%.[ref]  

Is it all in your head?

In a literal way...  It turns out that neurotransmitters cause some of the symptoms of PMS and PMDD. Both conditions are linked to physically altered neurotransmitter levels.
  • Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter involved in mood stability. Estrogen is a serotonin agonist, and fluctuations in estrogen levels also affect serotonin levels.
  • GABA, another neurotransmitter, is also involved in PMS symptoms for some.[ref]
Genetic variants in these neurotransmitter genes are linked to increased susceptibility to PMS and PMDD -- and they may hold the clues to what to do about PMS symptoms.

Genes Involved in PMS and PMDD

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