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Premenstrual syndrom: prevalence and effect on academic and social performances of students in Jimma University, Ethiopia

Addis Tenkir
Nebreed Fisseha
Biniyam Ayele


Background: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a serious problem affecting a woman's health. It affects educated women more that non-educated women. Although it has been widely studied in many countries, little, if any, is known about PMS in Ethiopia. Objective: the main aim of the study was to determine the prevalence of PMS and its effect on the academic and social performances of students of Jimma University (JU).

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 242 randomly selected female students of JU in Jan. 2002. A structured and pretested self-administered questionnaire was employed for data collection. The criteria proposed by the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-IV) were used to diagnose PMS.

Results: The age of participants ranged from 17 to 38 years, with mean & median age of 20.3 & 20 years, respectively. Almost all (99.6%) had at least one premenstrual (PM) symptom in many of the menstrual cycles in the last 12 months. The prevalence of PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (according to DSM-IV) was 27%. About 14% of the study participants frequently missed classes and 15% missed examinations or scored a lower grade at least once because of PM symptoms. Both were significantly associated with severity of symptoms (p<0.005). More first year students were affected by PMS than students of other class-years (p<0.05).

Conclusion: Our study revealed a high prevalence and negative impact of PMS on students of Jimma University. Therefore, health education, appropriate medical treatment and counseling services, as part and parcel of the overall health service, should be availed and provided to affected women. Further study is also recommended to precisely determine the prevalence of PMS using prospective methods.

Ethiop.J.Health Dev. 17(3):181-188

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