Period pain is part and parcel of most women's menstrual cycle, and something we rarely question it – even though 80% of women suffer from symptoms. But now research published in the Journal of Women's Health reveals that PMS is caused by acute inflammation.
The largest of its kind study found this inflammation is caused by a biomarker called C-reactive protein (hs-CRP). The more someone has of this protein, the more likely they are to be experiencing inflammation and hence period pain.
The team from the University of California surveyed almost 3,000 women
and discovered there was a positive correlation between PMS severity and
They believe PMS, cramps, back pain, cravings, weight gain, breast tenderness and bloating appear to be related to CRP levels. Interestingly, though, not headaches.
Dr Susan Korenstein, journal editor, says that recognising this
underlying inflammatory basis for PMS could open the door for additional
treatment and prevention. The scientists added:
further longitudinal study of these relationships is needed...
recommending to women to avoid behaviors that are associated with
inflammation may be helpful for prevention, and anti-inflammatory agents
may be useful for treatment of these symptoms."
we've known for a while that anti-inflammatory medicines help period
pain, this biological link could help scientists find more effective
treatment – hurrah!