Characteristics of the gut microbiota in women with premenstrual symptoms: A cross-sectional study

Premenstrual symptoms can negatively impact the quality of life of women through a range of mood, behavioral, and physical symptoms. The association between the microbiota and brain function has been extensively studied. Here, we examined the characteristics of the microbiota in women with premenstrual disorders (PMDs) and the association between premenstrual symptoms and the microbiota.


In this single center cross-sectional pilot study, we recruited 27 women reporting premenstrual symptoms and 29 women with no serious premenstrual symptoms. Among them, we further selected 21 women experiencing premenstrual symptoms resulting in interference to their social life (PMDs group) and 22 women with no serious premenstrual symptoms and thereby no interference to their social life (control group). The severity of symptoms was evaluated by a premenstrual symptoms questionnaire (PSQ). Inflammatory markers were analyzed in blood samples, including C reactive protein, soluble CD14, and lipopolysaccharide binding protein. Sequencing of 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid genes was performed on stool samples.


Inflammatory markers in blood samples did not differ significantly between the PMDs and control groups. A difference in beta, but not alpha diversity, was detected for the gut microbiotas of the PMDs and control groups. The relative abundance of the Bacteroidetes phylum was lower in the PMDs group. At the genus level, the prevalence was decreased for Butyricicoccus, Extibacter, Megasphaera, and Parabacteroides and increased for Anaerotaenia in the PMDs group, but after false discovery rate correction, these differences were no longer significant. Linear discriminant effect size analysis revealed a decrease in Extibacter, Butyricicoccus, Megasphaera, and Parabacteroides and an increase in Anaerotaenia in the PMDs group. The PSQ total score correlated with Anaerotaenia, Extibacter, and Parabacteroides. Multiple regression analysis showed that Parabacteroides and Megasphaera negatively predicted the PSQ total score.


The properties of the gut microbiota are associated with premenstrual symptoms.



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Published: 27 May 2022