According to a recent study, women who suffer from severe PMS, also known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD, may have an irregularity in their genetic composition which could explain the severity of their symptoms.
A PMDD sufferer experiences a disabling anxiety or depression in addition to typical PMS symptoms – a condition which effects approximately 2 to 5 per cent of menstruating women.
Examining the potential causes for the condition, experts have identified that sufferers exhibit a specific irregularity when it comes to genetic composition at a molecular level.
The study, which was published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, elaborated on previous research which suggested that women with PMDD have a different sensitivity to the sex hormones released during menstruation.
After providing 10 PMDD sufferers with drugs to block the release of sex hormones typically released during their periods ― estradiol or progesterone – the women did not experience their typical symptoms.
Interestingly, the symptoms returned when the women were again exposed to the sex hormones.
After examining sufferers' cells alongside non-sufferers' cells, researchers established that the part of a cell which responds to hormones were different in sufferers of the condition.
Co-author and Chief of the Behavioral Endocrinology Branch at the National Institute of Mental Health, Peter Schmidt, elaborated on the findings while speaking to The Huffington Post.
"It’s the first evidence that this differential hormone sensitivity in PMDD is based on a biological difference that’s occurring on a cellular level,” he said.
"Many women with this condition feel that it’s neglected,” he continued. "Either their doctors tell them it’s normal to be moody around their periods or they say it’s in the women’s heads."
The results have reportedly been welcomed by sufferers of the condition.