Many women feel symptoms during the week leading to their period. These are collectively called premenstrual syndromes (PMS).
A study has shown that people who live near nature can reduce their symptoms.
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health discovered that PMS symptoms such as anxiety, depression and trouble sleeping were more common in women who live near greener areas.
Although the cause of the link is still unknown, the team believes the results will stimulate further research.
Co-ordinator for the study, Dr Payam Dadvand said, “More studies have proven that green space can be beneficial to our health.”
“Nevertheless, we do not have sufficient of it in most cities, and it may be far from where our population lives. Natural environments are essential to our health, so city officials must prioritize them.
Study claims living in close to green spaces could reduce PMS symptoms (stock photo)
The researchers wanted to find out if living in close proximity to urban green spaces could help with PMS symptoms.
The researchers collected data on more than 1000 women between the ages of 18 and 49 in Norway and Sweden. They also included questionnaires about their health and lifestyle.
A questionnaire was also given to the women asking if any of the most frequent PMS symptoms were present. These included irritability and anxiety, tearsfulness or increased sensitivity, depression, trouble sleeping, bloating, breast tenderness or pain, headaches, as well as difficulty sleeping.
The team also collected data about the neighbourhoods of the women, such as their proximity to green spaces and their exposure to pollution (PM2.5, PM10).
Analysing the data showed that PMS symptoms were less common for women who lived in greener areas. These included anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping and breast tenderness.
Dr Nadvand explained that the analysis was not able to determine if there had been any exposure to green spaces at one point in time.
Analysing the data showed that PMS symptoms like anxiety, depression, sleeping difficulties, breast tenderness, or abdominal bloating were less common for women who lived in greener areas.
“Our research shows that long-term green space exposure is important for PMS symptoms.
Although previous research suggests that green space may lead to increased exercise and less exposure to polluting air, this study does not support these claims.
Researchers suggest instead that green spaces may be beneficial for stress reduction, which may in turn reduce PMS symptoms.
Kai Triebner (lead author) said that three of the four conditions improved by exposure to green spaces were psychological. This is consistent with our previous knowledge: nature can reduce stress levels and promote mental well-being.
Stress can increase PMS symptoms. It also increases levels of cortisol. This could lead to an increase in progesterone release, which is linked with the development of PMS symptoms.