PMDD- An Exciting New Discovery
By Kristina Dragovic, DO
As women, many of us are familiar with the myriad of changes in attitude, appetite, patience etc etc… that accompany menstruation. However, for a small subset of us, approximately 1 in 20, there is something more intense than PMS (Pre-menstrual disorder). A more severe change characterized by depression and anxiety known as PMDD (Pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder). Recently researchers have identified a new gene cluster that they believe has implications towards the origins of PMDD.
Through studies on blood cells of 67 women with PMDD and without, researchers found that the cells of those women who had PMDD showed a different outcome with respect to the gene cluster known as ESC/E(Z) and the proteins produced with and without exposure to ovarian hormones. The women were given a medication to block their ovarian hormonal production and their moods were recorded during this blockade, and after the medication was discontinued.
The study showed that those women on the hormonal blockade had less symptoms, but when treated with hormones noticed their symptoms returned.
What does this mean for those suffering from PMDD and their subsequent treatment options? As of now it its not necessarily a causal factor- however this is a great advancement in the identification of an actual difference on a molecular level. Because fluctuations in ovarian hormones are the usual cause of PMS and PMDD, the next step would seem to alter these fluctuations in hormones to help alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately- these hormones have various responsibilities throughout our bodies- so simply targeting them as treatment could lead to many side affects. Most importantly, these studies were limited to work on blood cells and there are numerous factors that could also be contributing to the changes observed as well. Though a meaningful characterization of actual genes involved, more research is needed to further changes in management.
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