Research: CAMPBELL and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 30


CAMPBELL and colleagues, Hunter Centre for Health Advancement, Wallsend, New South Wales, Australia studied the rates of premenstrual symptoms, treatments tried, perceived efficacy of such treatments, the proportion of women who sought help for premenstrual symptoms, and whether women perceived the need for additional help in dealing with premenstrual symptoms.



The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey of 310 general practices patients aged 18-45 years who had had a menstrual period in the previous three months.


11-32% of women reported severe or extreme premenstrual changes regarding each of the 10 symptoms on the Premenstrual Assessment Form, with the highest rates for affective symptoms. 85% of the women had tried treatments for premenstrual symptoms, with many having tried a number of treatments. The most commonly tried treatments, reported by at least 1/3 of women, included pain killers, rest, drinking more fluids, and exercise. The most effective treatments reported included dietary changes, evening primrose oil, vitamins including vitamin B6, and exercise. About 50% of the women had sought help, mostly from a GP 45% said that they would like more help to deal with premenstrual symptoms. Higher symptoms scores were associated with a history of endometriosis, lower education level, not taking oral contraceptives, taking evening primrose oil and taking vitamin B6.


There is a real need to further refine programmes and resources and ways to effectively help women with premenstrual symptoms.


Campbell EM et al. Premenstrual symptoms in general practice patients, Prevalence and treatment. J Reperod Med 42 (10): 637-45. Oct 1997.


This study reveals a rather higher proportion of women who experience severe premenstrual symptoms. These are undoubtedly arising from rather complicated biochemical and hormonal unbalances, which could be treated in many instances with a combination of dietary and hormonal treatment approaches. In the recently held Menopause Symposium hosted by Positive Health, physicians Dr John Lee, Dr Shirley Bond, Dr David Smallbone and herbalist Dr Judy Griffin all outlined clinical programmes which can alleviate many menstrual and menopausal symptoms. Transcripts of the Proceedings will be available soon. Those wishing to order a copy of the Transcripts, please contact Positive Health: Tel: 0117-983 8851 Fax: 0117-908 0097 email:

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