Chronic inflammation may be the reason millions of women across the world suffer from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) such as cramps, mood changes and bloating, a new research suggests.
Previous studies show that almost 90 percent of women experience at least one symptom of PMS every month. This includes weight gain, bloating and fluid retention.
Although anti-inflammatory drugs have long been used to treat such symptoms, the causes have remained a mystery.
Now, experts from the University of California, Davis discovered a relationship between premenstrual symptoms and a biomarker for inflammation known as high sensitivity C-reactive (Hs-CR) proteins.
UC Davis researchers investigated the conditions of 3,000 women. They determined that those with high levels of Hs-CR proteins had higher chances of reporting abdominal cramps, mood swings, cravings, breast and back pain, bloating and weight gain.
Headaches did not appear to be linked to increased levels of Hs-CR proteins, but higher levels of the protein were associated with more severe premenstrual symptoms, researchers found.
Why The Findings Are Important
Researchers wrote that the relationships of the PMS symptoms to high levels of Hs-CR proteins have possible clinical implications for the development of treatment, as well as to the prevention of the condition.
Advising women about the factors connected to inflammation and suggesting avenues for future research may help alleviate the problem.
Details of the study are featured in the Journal of Women's Health.
Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson of the University of Massachusetts, who wrote the accompanying editorial for the study, says the cause of PMS is still poorly understood.
Endocrinologist Rosie Worsley of Jean Hailes for Women's Health Medical Center agrees. She says that although PMS is common, there's little research about it.
"It's very hard to get funding," says Worsley. "It's just not seen as a priority."
Researchers say that although inflammation may play a role in PMS, further investigations must be done to examine the link.
How To Avoid Inflammation
In the meantime, experts suggest several ways to avoid inflammation.
One way is by avoiding food that induces this effect such as the following:
1. White bread, pastries and other refined carbohydrates
2. Fried foods and chips
3. Sugary beverages
4. Burgers, steaks and other red meat
5. Processed meat such as hot dogs and sausages
The following foods can fight inflammation:
1. Olive oil
3. Spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables
4. Almonds and walnuts
5. Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fish
6. Strawberries, oranges, cherries and blueberries
Photo: Robert Couse-Baker | Flickr