Possible adrenal link to pms/pmdd

I'd be interested to hear/know/find out what is going on with adrenal progesterone/estrogen/testosterone pre menstrually for women with pms/pmdd issues? Do you think it's possible this could play a role in problematic symptoms? I would love more research to be done regarding what causes PMS/PMDD. Its clearly of hormonal causation (whether it's ovarian, adrenal or both). Too many women are suffering and find little relief with current treatments available. I can't help but think there is an endocrine dysfunction possibly in all of this? It's just a thought.......

8 Replies

  • Hello fellow Pioneer, Christina!

    I have always suspected this! There is a tumor that can grow on the adrenal glands called a pheochromocytoma (don't try saying that with a mouthful of Apple Jacks). Its growth pushes on the affected adrenal gland causing it to release more hormones than normal. One of the symptoms is a person being in a constant fight or flight state. When I first learned about the symptoms, I did not suspect I had a tumor--there are many other symptoms--but I was astonished at how strongly I felt a fight or flight state during ovulation and PMS, in particular "the need to flee." I've felt so mixed up at times, I felt I should load up a truck and drive away and start over somewhere else.

    Now, I believe there are several things that can manipulate (push on) other proximal body parts like the adrenals during ovulation and PMS. One is the build up of the uterine lining in preparation for menstruation. Another is gas, bloating, and constipation. A third, a doctor once explained to me, is more commonly seen in women with PMS/PMDD. There is a bloody cyst that forms around an improperly released egg. When this cyst erupts, the blood causes lots of pain. This cyst can even form on the outside of the fallopian tubes.

    I'm delighted you shared this!


  • Hey Emmyloop 😊

    Brilliant information. I have been thinking about this for a while, and it would make perfect sense wouldn't it? Very interesting you should mention the adrenal aspects as im currently being investigated for adrenal issues. Cushing's syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (non classic). I had horrific PMDD symptoms and then some (I no longer have these issues as I had a total hysterecromy because of it) but I identified that progesterone was a culprit in this. And from researching CAH its to do with adrenal progesterone levels being exceptionally high! So until I know more I can't say for definite but ultimately that will have lead to my pmdd issues. My cortisol levels have shown high in one test ive done so in conjunction with what you say about fight or flight. And it does cause extreme anxiety aswell as low mood.

    Also I was found to have cysts on my ovaries (post op) they weren't Polycystic (I can't remember the name of it) but I read they rupture and lead to painful periods!

    I'm starting to think that maybe the health professionals should consider PMs/PMDD to be recognised as an endocrine issue aswell as a gynae until the day they can establish a cause for it and treatment. Wouldn't it be interesting and maybe beneficial for sufferers to have their adrenal hormones tested and monitored for their symptoms? Maybe PMS/PMDD have underlying adrenal issues not yet recognised. They may have a faulty enzyme somewhere in the adrenal hormones which causes these problems? Just seems like a big lack of understanding for it, by the gynae sector, because they can't see it, (unlike cysts and endometriosis), and measuring estrogen usually only confirms ovarian failure of levels are low. And yet Endo's don't seem to be none the wiser either 😕

    How bad are your issues pre menstrually? Have you been provided with any treatment or are you able to manage it at all?

    Has anything helped yor symproms or made them worse?

    I hope you don't mind me asking you the millions of questions, im just really interested in your experince with it all

  • Christina,

    I haven't had any adrenal testing done, but I've asked serves doctors to check my hormones meaning progesterone and estrogen and they refused saying my hormones are ok if I'm having my periods regularly. I hate progesterone. I think I have too much of it. Zoloft and a 12 step recovery program have helped, as have some seizure meds (given for bipolar). It's not possible for me to take birth control, it makes me crazy and/or sleepy.


  • Aww bless you.

    I can understand why your doctors say that as the likelihood is your progesterone and estrogen levels Prob are okay.

    However if your adrenals hormones aren't ie, 17oh progesterone, acth, cortisol, lh

    then it could explain why your intolerant of birth control? It's hard isn't it when gynaes are dismissive or resistant to test hormones.... 😒

    I'm glad to hear Zoloft and anti seizure meds have helped, I hope you continue to see improvement regarding your menstrual issues. I sympathise with you, I really do 😞

  • Emmy,

    Have you ever had any adrenal testing done at all?

  • Fascinating ideas, BOTH of you. I too would like to see more research done in this area. Here is an article highlighting some of the research findings of a UC Davis professor regarding inflammation and PMS.


    Inflammation plays a key role in some of the other conditions mentioned in this thread and might be an interesting avenue of study. Perhaps, when I move to Davis, I can get in touch with this professor!

  • Hello. I am Courtney. I don't know that much about PMDD, other than I know I have it. I have been taking a low dose of zoloft and also gabapentin, which was given to me when I quit drinking alcohol 7 years ago. They help some. Lately not as much. I'm sure glad to know I'm not alone. I feel the need to flee once a month too. I fight too. I start applying for jobs in other states, I even applied for a job in Alaska!!!...Just move the family. Lol ...Not every cycle but maybe every other one I have a blood clot the size of a quarter or smaller for a day or two the second and third day of my cycle. My mood is worse during these times. Is that a cyst? I have a whole list of symptoms that I track if anyone is interested. Thanks for sharing.

  • Hello Courtney 😊 I'm sorry to hear you also suffer with this horrific disorder. Please feel free to share your symptoms list with us, we would all be interested to hear. I'm not too sure if you have a cyst by what you describe, but I would ask if you've had any gynae tests at all in relation to this?

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