Menstrual cycle, beta-endorphins, and pain sensitivity in premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


Journal Article

This study examined pain sensitivity and pain modularity mechanisms (e.g., beta-endorphin levels, blood pressure) in women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD; n = 27) and healthy controls (n = 27) during the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle. Physiological measures were taken during rest and ischemic pain testing. In both cycle phases, PMDD women (a) displayed lower resting cortisol and beta-endorphin levels and (b) exhibited shorter pain threshold and tolerance times and greater pain unpleasantness ratings during pain. PMDD women also reported greater pain unpleasantness and intensity and had lower beta-endorphin levels in their luteal phase and tended to display higher blood pressure levels at rest and during pain testing. Results suggest that endogenous opioids may be pathophysiologically relevant to PMDD and that the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis may modulate pain sensitivity in PMDD.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Straneva, PA; Maixner, W; Light, KC; Pedersen, CA; Costello, NL; Girdler, SS

Published Date

  • July 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 21 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 358 - 367

PubMed ID

  • 12090678

Pubmed Central ID

  • 12090678

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0278-6133


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States