Childhood Body Size and Premenstrual Disorders explored, a link found
Maintaining a normal body mass in childhood may be considered for lowering the burden of PMDs in adulthood, based on the latest research published in JAMA Network Open.
Emerging data suggest that more than two-thirds of premenstrual disorders (PMDs), including premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, have symptom onset during the teen years. Adulthood adiposity has been associated with PMDs; however, the association with childhood and adolescent body size is unknown
Premenstrual disorders include premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is a more disabling form predominated by psychological symptoms and accompanied by impaired social functioning.
Both cross-sectional8 and prospective9 studies indicate that adulthood adiposity is positively associated with PMDs.
However, such association may be attributable to obesity present already in childhood.10 Indeed, several cross-sectional studies11,12 have found that young girls with PMDs have a higher body mass index (BMI) than those without PMDs. However, premenstrual food craving and appetite changes are core symptoms of PMDs,13 and it is possible that higher BMI may be a consequence of premenstrual symptoms rather than a contributor.
In a prospective cohort study, Donghao Lu et. al tried to examine the association between childhood and adolescent body size and the risk of PMDs in young adulthood.
This prospective cohort study included 6524 female participants from the Growing Up Today Study (1996-2013). Data were analyzed from February 26, 2020, to June 23, 2021.
Body mass index (BMI) was estimated using self-reported height and weight through adolescence and converted to BMI for age.
The researchers found that baseline BMI for age reported at a mean age of 12.7 years was associated with an increased risk of PMDs
The other findings are as follows:
● Associations were particularly pronounced for premenstrual dysphoric disorder and for PMDs with symptom onset before 20 years of age and remained in the absence of psychiatric comorbidities, including depression, anxiety, and disordered eating behavior.
● When analyzing BMI change over time, individuals with high BMI throughout adolescence had a higher burden of premenstrual symptoms compared with those with normal BMI throughout adolescence.
● Individuals with high BMI early followed by a mild decrease later did not report higher premenstrual symptoms
"The findings of this cohort study suggest that childhood adiposity is associated with higher risk of PMDs and higher burden of premenstrual symptoms in young adulthood. If this association is confirmed in independent populations, maintaining a normal body mass in childhood may be considered for preventing the development of a range of future health hazards in young adults, including PMDs," the authors concluded.