18:10 04 January 2017
Around five per cent of women experience severe PMS in the days leading up to their period due to a condition called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Scientists now believe that they may have finally identified the gene that makes women more susceptible to PMDD.
Study author Professor David Goldman from the National Institutes of Health in the US, said: "This is a big moment for women's health because it establishes that women with PMDD have an intrinsic difference in their molecular apparatus for response to sex hormones - not just emotional behaviours they should be able to voluntarily control."
A previous study has already established that women who regularly experience mood disorder symptoms before their periods were more sensitive to normal changes in sex hormones, even though their levels were normal. Researchers involved in the study have determined that turning off the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone eliminates PMDD symptoms while adding back the hormones triggered the symptoms.
Study author Professor Peter Schmidt, from NIH, said: 'We found dysregulated expression in a suspect gene complex which adds to evidence that PMDD is a disorder of cellular response to oestrogen and progesterone.
'For the first time, we now have cellular evidence of abnormal signalling in cells derived from women with PMDD, and a plausible biological cause for their abnormal behavioural sensitivity to oestrogen and progesterone.
'Learning more about the role of this gene complex holds hope for improved treatment of such prevalent reproductive endocrine-related mood disorders.'
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