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Pre-menstrual stress, anxiety now a public health issue globally: Study

New York, Sep 7 (IANS) More than 64 per cent of women now experience premenstrual mood swings and anxiety, representing a “key public health issue globally,” according to a new study.

Majority of women experience premenstrual symptoms every menstrual cycle.

At least 61 per cent of women in all age groups reported mood-related symptoms every menstrual cycle, which the researchers suggest that “premenstrual mood symptoms are a key public health issue globally”.

“Our study demonstrates that premenstrual mood symptoms are incredibly common worldwide,” said Jennifer L Payne, director of the Reproductive Psychiatry Research Programme at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

“More importantly, a majority of women reported that their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life at least some of the time.” she added.

The study, published in Archives of Women’s Mental Health, analysed 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.

The most common symptoms reported were food cravings (85.28 per cent) followed by mood swings or anxiety (64.18 per cent) and fatigue (57.3 per cent), said the researchers.

Also, 28.61 per cent said their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life during every menstrual cycle, while an additional 34.84 per cent said their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life sometimes.

“The incidence of reported premenstrual mood and anxiety symptoms varied significantly by country”, Payne said.

“Understanding whether differences in biology or culture underlie the country level rates will be an important future research direction.” she added.

Researchers are hopeful that this data will help women get better care by making healthcare providers more aware of how frequently these symptoms especially anxiety and mood-related symptoms.

“There are a number of treatment strategies that are available to treat premenstrual symptoms that interfere with a woman’s everyday functioning,” she said.

“Increasing awareness of how common these symptoms are, and that if they impact functioning that there are treatments available, will help women improve their quality of life,” the researcher added.

–IANS

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