This review attempts to understand the etiology of the premenstrual syndrome through examination of the status of estrogen, progestrone, and B-endorphins during the menstrual cycle. The effects of exercise on these neuro-endocrine variables are considered for their potential symptom-relieving actions. The evidence suggests that exercise can alleviate PMS by counteracting estrogen and endorphin withdrawal, and/or by depressing progesterone levels during the menstrual cycle luteal phase. This implies that athletic women may suffer fewer or less frequent premenstrual complaints.
(C) 1988 National Strength and Conditioning Association