The Serotonin and PMS Relationship Discussed
by Patsy Hamilton
are many side effects associated with their use and many women seek alternatives.

The relationship between serotonin and PMS is unclear. Serotonin is a
neurotransmitter involved in regulating moods, appetite, sleep cycles and various
other bodily functions. Women who suffer from mood swings, depression, anxiety,
trouble sleeping or food cravings during PMS could be suffering from low levels of
serotonin. There have been no large scale studies to support this conclusion, but the
symptoms seem to indicate that this is the case.

Initially scientists learned that eating carbohydrates increased levels of serotonin
circulating in the blood stream. The hypothesis was made that women suffering from
PMS craved simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, because their levels of serotonin
were low. In a clinical setting groups were treated with either a specially designed
carbohydrate rich dietary supplement or an SSRI, the results showed that symptoms
were greatly reduced in both groups. These studies led to Prozac being approved for
the treatment of PMDD and a dietary supplement was created by the researchers
leading the investigation. The PMS control achieved in the studies is believed to be
related to increased levels of serotonin in the brain.

Other indications that low levels of serotonin and PMS emotional symptoms are
related is the laboratory finding that estrogen prevents serotonin from breaking down
so quickly. Estrogen levels are at their lowest following ovulation, before
menstruation begins, or in the two weeks before a woman has her period. What is
difficult for researchers, doctors and other health care professional is why some
women experience emotional problems during PMS and others do not. If low levels
of estrogen were the only cause, then all women would experience the same
symptoms every month. But, since this is not the case, other factors must be
involved.

Currently the best advice that anyone can offer concerning PMS control is to either
take an antidepressant like Prozac, birth control pills to prevent ovulation or herbal
and dietary supplements to relieve symptoms. Since Prozac and birth control pills
have unwanted symptoms and cannot be taken by all women. Herbs, dietary
supplements, dietary changes, lifestyle changes and even acupuncture have been
used to for PMS control. If theories about the relationship between
are correct, then a serotonin precursor called 5-HTP can help. It is available
without a prescription and is an ingredient in some PMS formulas.


About The Author

Patsy Hamilton was a health care professional for over twenty years before
becoming a freelance writer. Currently she writes informational articles about women’
s health for the Menopause and PMS Guide, which provides information for women
with problems associated with PMS, menopause and perimenopause including
treatment options from conventional medicine to herbal remedies, dietary guidelines
and helpful lifestyle changes.
to visit our site. For more information about
5-HTP and other PMS solutions, please visit the
.
The relationship between serotonin
and PMS is often discussed. Research
showed that low levels of serotonin
were present in women suffering
from premenstrual dysphoric disorder
(PMDD), a severe for of PMS; control
of symptoms was achieved using
antidepressants, known as Selective
Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors
(SSRI). Thus, Prozac and several
other antidepressants of this type
were approved for treating PMDD by
the Food and Drug Administration.
These drugs were not approved for
treating milder forms of PMS, but
some doctors prescribe them. There
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