Published: 29-05-2023 17:00 | Updated: 29-05-2023 17:00

Childhood asthma and food allergies increase the risk of premenstrual disorders

In a recently published study, researchers at the Institute for Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet show that girls with childhood asthma or food allergies are at increased risk of premenstrual disorders in adulthood.

Yihui Yang

Premenstrual disorders, characterized by physical and psychological symptoms before onset of menses, often have a negative impact on daily life. An estimated 20-30% of women of reproductive ages are affected by premenstrual syndrome (PMS), while approx. 2-6% have the more severe form premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is dominated by psychological symptoms with significantly impaired social functioning.

Previous research suggests that inflammation may play a role in the development of premenstrual disorders. However, knowledge is limited and there is a great need for continued research. The purpose of the current study was therefore to investigate whether inflammatory conditions in childhood, such as asthma and allergies, can contribute to premenstrual disorders in adulthood.

By using a large longitudinal cohort study in U.S. with detailed information collected through adolescence and young adulthood, the researchers at IMM and collaborators at Harvard Medical School, University of Iceland and University of Massachusetts Amherst have been able to perform the first prospective cohort study to address this important issue and advance the knowledge on the biological underpinnings of premenstrual disorders.

The results from the study form an important basis for future mechanistic research on inflammation and premenstrual disorders. The results also highlight the importance of caregivers being aware of the risk that girls with asthma or food allergies may suffer from premenstrual disorders later in life.

Our previous study showed premenstrual symptoms often emerge from adolescence, indicating the importance of early-life and childhood risk factors in the development of premenstrual disorders. We will continue investigating what and how factors before puberty may shape the development of premenstrual disorders, a pervasive condition throughout women’s reproductive life.

Yihui Yang, Unit of Integrative Epidemiology, IMM


Childhood asthma, allergies and risk of premenstrual disorders in young adulthood.
Yihui Yang, Tong Gong, Carlos A. Camargo Jr, Unnur A. Valdimarsdóttir, Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, Donghao Lu, MD, PhD
Nature Mental Health,


Yihui Yang

PhD student

Donghao Lu

Assistant professor