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Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

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Female Urogenital Diseases and Pregnancy Complications | Obstetrics and Gynecology | Women's Health


INTRODUCTION: It is estimated that up to 75% of premenopausal women experience at least one premenstrual symptom and 8-20% meet clinical criteria for premenstrual syndrome. Premenstrual syndrome substantially reduces quality of life for many women of reproductive age, with pharmaceutical treatments having limited efficacy and substantial side effects. Physical activity has been recommended as a method of reducing menstrual symptom severity. However, this recommendation is based on relatively little evidence, and the relationship between physical activity, premenstrual symptoms, and premenstrual syndrome remains unclear.

METHODS: We evaluated the relationship between physical activity and premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual symptoms among 414 women aged 18-31. Usual premenstrual symptom experience was assessed with a modified version of the Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences. Total, physical, and affective premenstrual symptom scores were calculated for all participants. Eighty women met criteria for moderate-to-severe premenstrual syndrome, while 89 met control criteria. Physical activity, along with dietary and lifestyle factors, was assessed by self-report.

RESULTS: Physical activity was not significantly associated with total, affective, or physical premenstrual symptom score. Compared to the women with the lowest activity, women in tertiles 2 and 3 of activity, classified as metabolic equivalent task hours, had prevalence odds ratios for premenstrual syndrome of 1.5 (95% CI: 0.6-3.7) and 0.9 (95% CI: 0.4-2.4), respectively (p-value for trend = 0.85).

CONCLUSIONS: We found no association between physical activity and either premenstrual symptom scores or the prevalence of premenstrual syndrome.


premenstrual syndrome, physical activity, menstruation, menstrual cycle, exercise

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Copyright © 2017 Kroll-Desrosiers et al.

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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 12;12(1):e0169728. eCollection 2017. Link to article on publisher's site

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PloS one

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.