Premenstrual symptoms - severity, duration and typology: an international cross-sectional study

Dennerstein, Lorraine; Lehert, Philippe; Bäckström, Torbjörn Carl; Heinemann, Klaas
September 2009
Menopause International;Sep2009, Vol. 15 Issue 3, p120
Academic Journal
Objectives. Determine women's experiences of premenstrual symptoms. Study design. Cross-sectional survey. Sample. In all, 4085 women aged 14-49 years recruited by random telephone digit dialing in France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, UK, Brazil and Mexico. Main outcome measures. Telephone interview checklist of 23 premenstrual symptoms, sociodemographic variables and lifestyle variables. Results. The most prevalent symptoms were abdominal bloating, cramps or abdominal pain, breast tenderness, irritability and mood swings. Severity of symptoms is directly proportional to duration (R = 0.79). Hierarchical clustering found the following mental and physical domains and a typology: 'Mild' type (40.8%) with minimal symptoms; 'Moderate M' type (28.7%) with moderately severe, mostly mental symptoms; 'Moderate P' type (21.9%) with moderately severe, mostly physical symptoms; and 'Severe' type (8.6%) with severe intensity of both mental and physical symptoms. Multiple stepwise regression found significant effects on symptom duration severity index of age (linear and quadratic effects), current smoking and country. Conclusions. Further research is needed on the impact of premenstrual symptoms on quality of life, and whether a brief symptom list could be developed as a valid and reliable tool globally.


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