Pre Menstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Background to the Menstrual CycleThe menstrual cycle is regulated by a complex interaction of hormones. The central hormones involved in this cycle are gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), oestrogen and progesterone. GnRH from the hypothalamus stimulates the release of LH and FSH (both gonadotropins) in the brain which in turn stimulate release of oestrogen and progesterone in the ovaries.
During a healthy menstrual cycle oestrogen is only dominant in the first half of the cycle (balanced by progesterone) and progesterone is dominant in the second half.
What is PMS?
PMS is an oestrogen dominant condition (a relative lack of progesterone) that can sometimes be associated with polycystic ovaries (PCOS), uterine fibroids, endometriosis and fibrocystic breasts. It can be identified by a range of symptoms including irritability, lethargy, depression, breast swelling, water retention, food cravings, severe constipation, hot flushes, migraines, back pain, fibrocystic breasts, weight gain and acne.
The use of hormones in food production and the presence of oestrogen in recycled drinking water (caused by the excretion of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the contraceptive pill) may be serious contributing factors in many cases.