PMS Symptoms May Be Early Signs of Hypertension, Study Says

A UMass study suggests a link between hypertension and common symptoms like cramps, headaches, and fatigue.


PMS photo via Shutterstock

Cramps, bloating, headaches, moodiness—just when you thought PMS couldn’t get any worse, a new study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Harvard School of Public Health found that these common symptoms might also be early indicators of high blood pressure.

This is the first study to link premenstrual symptoms to chronic diseases later in life, according to team lead and UMass Amherst professor Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson. Researchers examined 3,720 participants in the Nurse’s Health Study, all of whom had at least moderate PMS symptoms (sound familiar?). They then compared these women to others of similar ages who did not have any symptoms, so as to investigate a potential link between PMS and blood pressure.

Their results, published last week in the Journal of Epidemiology, suggest that women who showed common PMS symptoms were 40 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure over the following two decades than women with few to no complaints. This link remained strong after controlling for lifestyle factors like smoking, BMI, exercise habits, and alcohol consumption.

According to the study, prevalence of hypertension is steadily increasing among young women—the study found that risk was highest for hypertension that started before age 40—and these results could help find ways to stop the trend.

Guys: Consider this just another reason to count yourselves lucky.