By the early 1990s, women, and then men, were ridiculing the idea because no two women described the same thing. When a syndrome covers everything, it covers nothing, the clinical guidance notes.
A new paper argues that it does not matter if the experiences are heterogeneous, when 64 percent of women experience mood swings and anxiety linked to one common cause they represent a “key public health issue globally.”
To better understand the type of premenstrual symptoms women experience and how those symptoms affect their daily lives, the researchers analyzed more than 238,000 survey responses from women ages 18-55 from 140 countries on the Flo app, which helps women track their menstrual cycle or track their mood or physical symptoms during and after pregnancy.
If you know it is going to happen, it makes sense that it would have psychological ramifications as well as physical ones. Here, Lydia Ko made a reporter stammer simply by saying something every woman knows to be true.
The most common symptoms reported were food cravings, experienced by 85.28% of the women surveyed, followed by mood swings or anxiety (64.18%) and fatigue (57.3%), according to researchers from the UVA School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University and Flo Health. Among the study respondents, 28.61% said their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life during every menstrual cycle, while an additional 34.84% said their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life sometimes.
“The incidence of reported premenstrual mood and anxiety symptoms varied significantly by country from a low of 35.1% in Congo to a high of 68.6% in Egypt,” says Dr. Jennifer L. Payne, the study’s senior author at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.. “Understanding whether differences in biology or culture underlie the country level rates will be an important future research direction.”
It's culture, women in Congo are not a separate species from women 1,000 miles away. A group of symptoms – absentmindedness, low libido, sleep changes, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, headaches, sweating or hot flashes, fatigue, hair changes, rashes and swelling – was significantly more frequent among older survey respondents, the researchers found. The increase in physical symptoms among older survey respondents “makes sense,” the researchers said, as many of these symptoms are associated with perimenopause, a transition period to menopause marked by irregular menstrual cycles.