PMS mood swings and anxiety are a global public health concern, researchers say

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Premenstrual mood swings and anxiety are so common that they represent a “key global public health problem”, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Virginia claim that 64% of women experience these symptoms.

Their study reveals that most women experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) every menstrual cycle, with these symptoms regularly affecting their daily lives. Regardless of age, one of the most commonly reported symptoms of PMS is mood swings or anxiety. Across all age groups, at least 61% of women report mood-related symptoms during each menstrual cycle. The researchers explain that this suggests “that premenstrual mood symptoms are a key public health issue worldwide.”

“Our study demonstrates that premenstrual mood symptoms are incredibly common around the world,” says study lead author Jennifer L. Payne, MD, director of the reproductive psychiatry research program at the medical school. from the University of Virginia, in a university outing. “Most importantly, a majority of women said their PMS symptoms interfered with their daily life at least occasionally.”

The authors of the study first sought to better understand the PMS symptom spectrum experienced by women, as well as the impact of these symptoms on their daily lives. To this end, the team analyzed more than 238,000 survey responses from women aged 18 to 55 living in 144 countries. Each participant used the Flo app, which helps women track their menstrual cycle, as well as their mood and physical symptoms during and after pregnancy.

PMS symptoms can change with age

Food cravings are the most commonly reported first premenstrual symptom (85.28%), followed by mood swings or anxiety (64.18%) and fatigue (57.3%). Additionally, 28.61% of respondents told researchers their premenstrual symptoms interfere with their daily life during each menstrual cycle. Similarly, an additional 34.84% said that their premenstrual symptoms sometimes interfered with their daily life.

“The incidence of premenstrual intercourse mood and anxiety symptoms varied widely across countries, ranging from a low of 35.1% in Congo to a high of 68.6% in Egypt,” adds Dr Payne. “Understanding whether differences in biology or culture underlie country-level rates will be an important future research direction.”

The research team notes that a number of PMS symptoms were much more common in older participants. These symptoms included distraction, low libido, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, headaches, sweating or hot flashes, fatigue, hair changes, skin rashes and swelling. The study authors explain that the higher rate of physical symptoms in older women “makes sense” because many of these symptoms are related to perimenopausea period of transition to menopause which can cause irregular menstrual cycles.

Dr. Payne hopes this work will raise awareness among doctors and healthcare professionals about the frequency of PMS symptoms, especially mood swings and anxiety.

“There are a number of treatment strategies available to treat premenstrual symptoms that interfere with a woman’s daily functioning,” concludes the researcher. “Increased awareness of the frequency of these symptoms and that if they impact functioning, that there are treatments available, will help women improve their quality of life.”

The study is published in the journal Archives of Women’s Mental Health.

Leave a Comment