ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) - New research suggests that the phenomenon of premenstrual syndrome, known more commonly as PMS, may not occur the way many have thought over the years.
Researchers working under the direction of Dr. Sarah Romans of the University of Otago in New Zealand asserted that the correlation between an impending menstrual cycle and symptoms such as mood swings is far more tenuous than previously stated, according to Time Health & Family.
“The human menstrual cycle … has historically been the focus of myth and misinformation, leading to ideas that constrain women’s activities,” authors of the study wrote. “We wished to examine one pervasive idea, that the [menstrual cycle] is a cause of negative mood, by studying the scientific literature as a whole. We briefly reviewed the history of the idea of premenstrual syndrome and undertook a systematic review of quality studies.”
A reported 47 studies were examined in the process, each of which tracked the moods of women throughout the course of their respective menstrual cycles. Of those studies, only 15 percent found that women experienced PMS.
According to the magazine, 38 percent of the studies found that PMS persisted into the onset of menstruation and beyond. Additionally, another 38 percent found no relationship between menstruation and moods.
The remaining 9 percent of studies allegedly claimed women experienced the worst moods while not in a premenstrual phase.
In short, 85 percent of the studies did not observe what is classically known as PMS, and just over half off the studies found menstruation and mood to be related at all.
The study distinguished between PMS and another disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a severe form of the syndrome, according to the magazine.
Women suffering from other menstrual disorders such as menorrhagia – which is described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta as “menstrual bleeding that lasts more than 7 days” – were also reportedly omitted from the investigation, as researchers wished to work with a pool of healthy women.
“Taken together, these studies failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome in the general population,” the study concluded, according to its abstract summary in Gender Medicine. “This puzzlingly widespread belief needs challenging, as it perpetuates negative concepts linking female reproduction with negative emotionality.”