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premenstrual symptoms, cortisol, mood



  1. Cahill, Cheryl A.


Background: A significant number of American women of childbearing age are troubled by premenstrual symptoms, but the underlying cause is not understood, resulting in inadequate therapy.


Objectives: To use basal levels of cortisol to differentiate women with low symptom (LS) patterns of turmoil-type premenstrual symptoms from women with premenstrual symptom (PMS) patterns and from women with premenstrual magnification (PMM) patterns of turmoil-type premenstrual symptoms.


Method: Symptom and cortisol patterns of women were monitored for three consecutive menstrual cycles. Three distinct groups of women were identified based on symptom patterns and types.


Results: Significant differences in symptom severity among groups were observed during the follicular (F=203; df=2, 24; p < .0001) and luteal phases (F=51.3; df=2, 24; p < .0001) of the cycle. There were no statistically significant differences in cortisol among groups for the follicular phase, but there were during the luteal phase (F=4.0; df=2, 24; p=.03).


Conclusions: Altered regulation of the stress axis may be involved in mediating turmoil-type PMS.