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The Menstrual Cycle: Psychological, Behavioral, Physiological, and Nutritional Factors

Abstract

The human female menstrual cycle is marked by the regular occurrence of menses appearing on average once every 28 days starting at puberty and ending at menopause. It is controlled by the endocrine system and requires adequate hormonal and nutritional status to function. Since the menstrual cycle is dependent on the synchronized operation between systems inputs and outputs, disturbances or system failures can occur at any point. Menstrual cycle discomfort or distress ranges from clinically defined and physiologically measurable symptoms of, for example, amenorrhea to the more difficult to measure premenstrual dysphoria. Symptoms of premenstrual discomfort or dysphoria, commonly referred to as premenstrual distress, premenstrual syndrome, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, are physiological, behavioral, and psychological in nature, commonly experienced and can range in severity from mild to debilitating. Although premenstrual disturbances have been studied extensively by researchers from many disciplines, no consensus on its etiology exists. Nevertheless, psychological, behavioral, physiological, endocrine, and nutritional factors have all been identified as relevant in either their contribution causally or as effective in the treatment of these premenstrual dysphoric disorders. The evidence of links between biochemical, nutritional, and psychological variables and the premenstrual phase of the menstrual cycle are explored in this chapter. Nutritional interventions for premenstrual disorders are catching up with the previously extolled pharmacological therapies, but their efficacy is also yet to be confirmed.

Keywords

  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Premenstrual Syndrome
  • Late Luteal Phase
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
  • Dysphoric Mood

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 58.1

Abbreviations

ACOG:

American College Obstetricians and Gynecology

DSM III:

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual III

GnRH:

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

FSH:

Follicle-stimulating hormone

LH:

Luteinizing hormone

NIMH:

National Institute of Mental Health

PMDD:

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder

PMS:

Premenstrual syndrome

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Correspondence to Olga van den Akker .

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC

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van den Akker, O. (2011). The Menstrual Cycle: Psychological, Behavioral, Physiological, and Nutritional Factors. In: Preedy, V., Watson, R., Martin, C. (eds) Handbook of Behavior, Food and Nutrition. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-92271-3_58

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-92271-3_58

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, New York, NY

  • Print ISBN: 978-0-387-92270-6

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-387-92271-3

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