Premenstrual Syndrome: Prevalence, Pattern and Severity Among Female University Students in Ekpoma, Nigeria
AbstractContext: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common but still poorly understood cyclical disorder of women in the reproductive age. Prevalence figures vary widely reflecting differences in modes of assessment and population sampled. It has been found to be more common and severe among well educated women with a possible association with stress. The female student population of Ambrose Alli Uuniversity, Ekpoma thus typifies a population at risk of this disorder.
Objective: To determine the prevalence, pattern and severity of PMS as well as perception and treatment seeking behaviour of the study population.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional survey conducted among female undergraduates of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, in order to assess the prevalence and severity of symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome (PMS) among them. Four hundred and four (404) respondents selected using the cluster sampling technique completed self-administered questionnaires distributed to them.
Results: PMS diagnosed using the ICD 10 criteria, was found in 94.8% of the study group. The common symptoms were abdominal pain/discomfort, breast pain/swelling, fatigue, irritability and decreased interest in usual activities. The least frequent symptoms were crying spells and suicide ideation. Analgesics were the most commonly used form of remedy (48.8%) while only one respondent (0.3%) used the oral contraceptive pill specifically as a remedy for PMS. There was a statistically significant
association between severity of symptoms and treatment between the age of respondents and use of oral contraceptive pills with severity of symptoms.
Conclusion: PMS is a very common but poorly understood condition in our environment. More local studies are advocated on this subject as well as increased public enlightenment to enhance the effective management of this condition.
Key Words: Premenstrual syndrome, prevalence, severity
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