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Cats' parasite linked to extreme PMS symptoms

For those women who suffer severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) every lead up to a period can feel like a living hell, but if you have a cat you may suffer even more.

Scientists have discovered that women with extreme symptoms, such as anger and depression, are more likely to have a parasite carried by cats in their bloodstream than those whose problems aren’t as intense.

An organism known as toxoplasma gondii has been found in cat’s droppings and it can spread through cat litter, with previous studies linking the parasite to aggression, anxiety and even schizophrenia in humans.

Now scientists have found it affects PMS as well, potentially proving that the condition isn’t just down to interaction between genetic susceptibility and hormones.

Experts from the Juarez University of Durango State, Mexico, looked into 151 females with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD); a problem suffered by one in 12 women and consists of issues including low self-esteem and persistent sadness or depression. After taking blood from participants, 10 carried toxoplasma gondii and those women were nine times more likely to feel ‘overwhelmed’ or ‘out of control’ in the lead up to their monthly cycle than those who didn’t have the parasite. However, other symptoms of PMS such as difficulty concentrating were not made worse by the presence of the organism.

Although researchers need to do more work to verify their discoveries after the small study, they insist the findings are groundbreaking.

“The results of this first study of its kind suggest toxoplasma gondii infection might be linked to some symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” they wrote in the Journal of Clinical Medical Research. “Infection has been linked to psychiatric disorders and changes in behaviour.”

While it is normal to experience mild PMS symptoms in the two weeks before a period starts, the National Health Service (NHS) advises women to see their doctor if the symptoms are making everyday life difficult.

There are ways to try and ease PMS though as digestive health expert Linda Booth has shared her top foods to eat during the lead up to a period with Mail Online. Avocados, hummus, leafy greens and brown rice all make the cut, as do treats including dark chocolate, pineapple and Greek yoghurt.

Source: Cover Media

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