Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced by specific neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger within your body. Within the central nervous system, the neurotransmitter serotonin has been associated with emotional regulation including aggression, anger, appetite, body temperature, mood, sexuality, and sleeping patterns. As serotonin has effects on many parts of the brain; its activation is associated with many therapeutic modulating factors.
Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are clinical class of antidepressant drugs used for the treatment of premenstrual syndrome, anxiety disorders, chronic pain, depression, and personality disorders.
Serotonin and PMS: The Connections
The use of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors is directly correlated with decreased overall signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, typically within days of starting treatment. The exact connections between serotonin and PMS remain unknown. However, there is a common correlation between certain symptoms of PMS including, depression, anxiety, mood swings, food cravings, and insomnia, that are associated with low levels of serotonin. One study has linked estrogen with the responsibility of slowing the degradation of serotonin. Premenstrual syndrome is typically accompanied by low levels of estrogen. These studies have all been preliminary, and more research is necessary to determine the exact mechanisms by which serotonin inhibits these symptoms.
Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors: How do they Work?
Put simply, the brain functions to send messages through the use of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. These messages are passed through what is known as a synapse, where two nerve cells meet. Serotonin is naturally released by the body into neuronal synapses. Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors function to inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin. By inhibiting this re-uptake, the presence of serotonin in these neural synapses is extended. This increases the overall chances for serotonin to reach the serotonin postsynaptic receptors. It is associated that the stimulation of these receptors is responsible for the decrease in symptoms.
Side Effects: Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors
There are many side effects associated with the use of serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. While side effects are typically common, most are not serious. However, this is only a short list of the most common side effects. There are more serious side effects including an increased risk for suicide, birth defects, and a serious condition known as serotonin syndrome.
- Appetite Changes
- Dry Mouth
- Sexual Difficulties
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
Serotonin: Things to Think About
When deciding about any treatment option, it is necessary and critical to weigh the benefits versus risks and costs. It is also important to discuss these options with your physician. Do your homework and find out all you can about the different treatment options, and dont ever be afraid to ask questions. Another consideration that is important is the value and help that simple lifestyle and dietary changes can accomplish. It is also important to ask about certain drug interactions, as serotonin is known to interact with various other medications. Sources: http://women.webmd.com/pms/selective-serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors-ssris-for-pms-and-pmdd http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/premenstrual-syndrome/DS00134/DSECTION=6