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Are There Multiple Causes Of PMS?

By — One of many PMS/PMDD blogs on

Put simply, yes there are multiple causes of premenstrual syndrome. Premenstrual syndrome is accompanied with different signs and symptoms dependent upon several factors including genetics, the environment, and individual circumstances.

Premenstrual Syndrome: Causes

Premenstrual syndrome is the presence of certain signs and symptoms that occur up to two weeks before the start of the menstrual period. These symptoms typically are relieved once menstruation has begun. There have been many proposed causes for premenstrual syndrome. Currently, it is known that premenstrual syndrome is caused by multiple factors including fluctuations in the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone, decreased serotonin levels, abnormal thyroid function, endorphin deficiencies, and even certain nutrient deficiencies.

Reproductive Hormone: Estrogen

Estrogens are the primary female hormones involved with reproductive system, produced by the ovaries. Estrogens are produced and secreted by the body and are necessary for the proper female sexual development, including menstrual cycle regulation. Estrogens are utilized by the body in several ways in addition to regulating female sexual health. Estrogens are necessary for the prevention of bone weakening, also known as osteoporosis, in post menopausal women. Estrogens are also currently utilized as a certain treatment method for certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Reproductive Hormone: Progesterone

Progesterone is another hormone produced by the ovaries that is responsible for the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Progesterone is also produced in the placenta during pregnancy, and is responsible for the preparation of the body from conception for pregnancy. As it is a hormone associated with regulation of the menstrual cycle, decreased amounts of progesterone are commonly correlated with signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Neurotransmitter: Serotonin

It is also suspected that the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are associated with certain chemical changes within the brain. Serotonin, a chemical neurotransmitter, is known to fluctuate in concentrations. These fluctuations have been strongly correlated with the development of specific premenstrual syndrome symptoms including insomnia, anxiety, irritability, depression, mood swings, food cravings, and fatigue.


Endorphins are polypeptides produced by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The biochemical formation of endorphins is responsible for feelings of well being. Endorphins are responsible for an increased pain threshold, suppressing the presence of pain to certain stimuli. Some premenstrual symptoms have been associated with low levels of endorphins present within the body.


Low levels of certain nutrients, particularly vitamins and minerals, have been linked to the development of premenstrual syndrome symptoms. As always, a healthy diet and lifestyle is recommended in addition to supplementation of vitamins and minerals as a method for naturally decreasing the signs and symptoms associated with premenstrual syndrome. Low amounts of vitamins that have been associated with signs and symptoms of premenstrual symptoms include that of vitamin B6 and vitamin E. Low amounts of the minerals calcium and magnesium have also been correlated with increased symptoms. However, more research is needed to support these findings. Certain foods are also correlated with increased symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. High intakes of salt are cause for fluid retention, while excessive intake of caffeine or alcohol is known to cause certain changes in energy levels and moods.

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