Women that have undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections may be at greater risk of experiencing negative premenstrual symptoms (PMS), according to new Oxford University research.
The study was conducted as part of a long term partnership with the female health, fertility and period-tracking app, CLUE. The findings, published in Evolution Medicine & Public Health, suggest that the presence of an undiagnosed STI might aggravate the negative premenstrual experience.
In addition to better understanding the relationship between women’s sexual and menstrual health, the team’s review of academic research published to date on PMS has revealed a direct link between menstrual cycling and women’s overall physical health and wellbeing. The accumulative review, published in Trends & Ecology & Evolution, reveals that the severity of chronic inflammatory diseases or the risk of infection depends on the phase of the menstrual cycle women are experiencing.
Dr Alexandra Alvergne, lead-author and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Oxford University, said: ‘Even now, when I write a research application on PMS, I still think ‘will this be taken seriously?’ that needs to change. Not understanding or even acknowledging that PMS is more than “women’s raging hormones” but rather, the by-product of cyclical immunity makes it harder to identify diseases and can even delay diagnosis of infections such as STIs, which can affect women’s fertility.’