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      The phenomenology of premenstrual syndrome in female medical students: a cross sectional study


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          The premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is particularly common in the younger age groups and, therefore represents a significant public health problem in young girls. This study aims to estimate the prevalence, severity, determinants of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and its impact among the female medical students in Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia.


          This study was performed at the College of Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia, from June through December 2009. It included 250 medical students. They filled different questionnaires covering American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) criteria to diagnose PMS, demographic & reproductive factors, physical activity and mental condition. Regression analysis was conducted for all the predictors.


          PMS was diagnosed in 35.6% of cases, distributed as 45% mild, 32.6% moderate and 22.4% severe. There were significant trends for older age, rural residence, family income and family history of PMS. The dominant limited activity was concentration in class (48.3%). Limitations of activities were significantly more frequent among severe cases. The prevalence of anxiety and depression was statistically more evident in the PMS group. Regression analysis revealed that, PMS was significantly associated with older age groups, rural residence, lower age at menarche, regularity of menses and family history.


          PMS is a common problem in young Saudi students in Al Ahsa. Severe PMS was associated with more impairment of daily activities and psychological distress symptoms. Older student age, rural residence, earlier age of menarche, regular cycles and positive family history are possible risk factors for PMS.

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          Most cited references41

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          Stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology: evidence of moderating and mediating effects.

          This paper reviews studies that have tested for moderators or mediators of the relation between stressors and child and adolescent psychopathology. Many studies have tested for moderation, but results of research studying moderators have been inconclusive. There have been few theory-based studies and there have been few consistent findings. Far fewer studies have tested for mediation effects, but these studies have generally been theory-driven, have more often built upon one another in an incremental fashion, and have yielded consistent results. In particular, there is substantial evidence for the mediating role of family relationship in the relation between stressors and child and adolescent psychological symptoms. Future studies should integrate moderator and mediator research by testing for specific mediators in relation to particular moderating contexts, so that we can better understand the complex ways in which stressful life experiences affect the well-being of children and adolescents.
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            Premenstrual syndrome.

            Most women of reproductive age have some physical discomfort or dysphoria in the weeks before menstruation. Symptoms are often mild, but can be severe enough to substantially affect daily activities. About 5-8% of women thus suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS); most of these women also meet criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Mood and behavioural symptoms, including irritability, tension, depressed mood, tearfulness, and mood swings, are the most distressing, but somatic complaints, such as breast tenderness and bloating, can also be problematic. We outline theories for the underlying causes of severe PMS, and describe two main methods of treating it: one targeting the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary axis, and the other targeting brain serotonergic synapses. Fluctuations in gonadal hormone levels trigger the symptoms, and thus interventions that abolish ovarian cyclicity, including long-acting analogues of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or oestradiol (administered as patches or implants), effectively reduce the symptoms, as can some oral contraceptives. The effectiveness of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, taken throughout the cycle or during luteal phases only, is also well established.
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              Premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.


                Author and article information

                Pan Afr Med J
                The Pan African Medical Journal
                African Field Epidemiology Network
                23 April 2010
                : 5
                : 4
                [1 ]Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine in Al-Ahsa, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia,
                [2 ]Department of Neuroscience, College of Medicine in Al-Ahsa, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia,
                [3 ]Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternity and Children Hospital, Al Ahsa, Saudi Arabia, Hofuf 31982, Saudi Arabia
                [4 ]Department of English Languages, College of Medicine in Al-Ahsa, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia
                Author notes
                [& ]Corresponding author: Magdy Hassan Balaha, Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine in Al-Ahsa, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia, P.O. Box: 400, Hofuf 31982 Telephone: +96635800000 3079, Fax: +96635800000 3031/3030
                Copyright © Magdy Hassan Balah et al.

                The Pan African Medical Journal - ISSN 1937-8688. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 30 December 2009
                : 16 April 2010
                Life Sciences

                premenstrual syndrome,saudi arabia
                premenstrual syndrome, saudi arabia


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