Premenstrual fall of plasma beta-endorphin in patients with premenstrual syndrome

Fertil Steril. 1987 Apr;47(4):570-3. doi: 10.1016/s0015-0282(16)59104-3.


Plasma beta-endorphin (beta-EP), beta-lipotropin (beta-LPH), and cortisol concentrations were measured by perimenstrual period in 11 patients affected by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and in 8 asymptomatic healthy volunteers. Blood samples were collected every 2 to 3 days, for 1 month, starting from midcycle. The Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) was administered during the testing period. Plasma beta-LPH and cortisol levels remain stable during the perimenstrual period, in both controls and PMS patients. On the contrary, PMS patients showed a decrease of plasma beta-EP in the week preceding menses and during the first days of menstrual flow. Beta-EP values of PMS patients regain normal levels during the next follicular phase. No changes of beta-EP levels were recorded in asymptomatic women. MDQ scores revealed that PMS patients complained of water retention, pain discomfort, and mood swings. The transient and reversible decrease of plasma beta-EP in PMS patients near to and at menses remains to be clarified.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Endorphins / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / blood*
  • Time Factors
  • beta-Endorphin
  • beta-Lipotropin / blood


  • Endorphins
  • beta-Endorphin
  • beta-Lipotropin
  • Hydrocortisone