The Science Behind PMS

Just here confirming what you already should know… PMS IS REAL.

If you have a uterus you will know that PMS is no joking matter, and is very much a real thing.

My good friend science has yet again thrown me a solid by showing us exactly how our moods are effected when Aunty Flo comes to town…and we see red.

Me once a month

The anger you may feel during your period along with the mood swings is all down to hormones.

In our menstrual cycle, we have four hormones that are making an appearance: Oestrogen, luteinising hormone, follicle stimulating hormone and progesterone.

Oestrogen and progesterone are the two main culprits of our bad moods as they are the hormones that effect our brains.

Feeling a little on edge during your period?

High levels of progesterone has been linked to increased activities in the part of our brains that detect threats being made against us.

So, if you’re feeling a little on edge, it means it’s that time in your cycle where your progesterone levels are peaking.

Belinda Pletzer from the Department of Psychology & Centre for Neurocognitive Research at the University of Salzburg, spoke to The New Scientist about why we have PMS.

The four hormones I mentioned above go to extreme peaks then drop suddenly during our period, and never at the same time. Pletzer believes that it is the sudden drop in oestrogen, followed by the unusual high which causes our bad mood.

Oestrogen generally peaks just before a woman ovulates. For those who do not ovulate, like women on the pill, Pletzer tells The News Scientist: “This lack of a peak has been discussed as one reason for negative mood changes”.

Our hormones rapidly going up and down and at different times is a pretty good explanation as to why some of us get a tad moody during our period.

I feel you

However, science doesn’t actually know the full extent of these symptoms, as the peaks and troughs vary from woman to woman.

As to why some women experience PMS worse than others?

It’s a simple matter of an individual’s sensitivity to hormones.

A study published earlier this year in molecular psychiatry places this down to cellular differences, meaning a different cellular response will be felt depending on the woman.

If you are like me and go through a roller coaster of feelings during your period take my mums advice:

Ride the wave of emotion.

Milly Haddrick


Milly is passionate about the issues and concerns of women navigating their way through the world of sex, dating and relationships, with a side passion for brie, dark chocolate and red wine.

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