It turns out that women who experience severe forms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) every month may be suffering from much more than just raging hormones. In fact, according to the latest research their symptoms could be caused by a parasite carried by cats.
Not so purrrrfect…
If you’re one of the 1 in 12 women who suffer with a severe form of PMS, called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) then you are all too familiar with the symptoms that can cause a complete emotional breakdown, ranging from persistent depression, extreme anger, low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts.
Until now it was thought that these extreme symptoms are a result of a complex interaction between hormones and genetic susceptibility. However, now researchers from the Juarez University of Durango State, Mexico, may shed new light on why these distressing symptoms make some women ill each month.
The new findings suggest a tiny single-cell parasite commonly found in cats’ droppings, called Toxoplasma gondii (T-gondii), could hold the key. The researchers studied 151 women with severe PMS symptoms and took blood samples to look for signs of the toxoplasma parasite. Ten of the women were found to be carrying the organism.
Upon further investigation, the researchers found the infected women were nine times more likely to report feeling ‘out of control’ or ‘overwhelmed’ in the run up to their period than those who were parasite-free.
Writing in the Journal of Clinical Medical Research the researchers said: ‘The results of this first study of its kind suggest Toxoplasma gondii infection might be linked to some symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Infection has been linked to psychiatric disorders and changes in behaviour.’
Previously, we told you about research that found up to 80 per cent of people in the UK may be harbouring some form of parasite! In the case of T.gondii, it’s estimated that around a third of the world’s population carry this parasite deep inside their brains and it infects up to 34 per cent of Britons.
Research have also suggested that T.gondii may sway human behaviour, turning men into aggressive, jealous ‘alley cats’, and transforming women into ‘sex kittens’. And there is also a strong link between T. gondii and schizophrenia.
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Extreme PMS? Scientists say the symptoms may be caused by a parasite carried by your CAT, published online 23.01.17, dailymail.co.uk
Can the cat give you cancer? Parasite in their bellies linked with brain tumours, published online 27.07.11, dailymail.co.uk