UVA Health study finds premenstrual mood swings and anxiety are common, and a public health issue
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new UVA Health study believes premenstrual mood swings and anxiety are a public health issue, because of how many women they impact.
“Perhaps the most important finding was that premenstrual mood and anxiety symptoms were extremely common,” Doctor Jennifer Payne said.
Dr. Payne is the vice chair of research in the Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences Department at UVA. She is the study’s senior author. She worked with Flo Health, a mobile phone app, for more than a year to compile the research.
Dr. Payne looked at data from women tracking their menstrual cycles through that app, and sent them a survey on their symptoms. She says common symptoms were food cravings, impacting around 85% of women, anxiety and mood swings (64.18%), and physical pain like fatigue and breast tenderness.
Of those surveyed, at least 61% of women in all age groups reported mood-related symptoms every menstrual cycle. 28.61% said their premenstrual symptoms interfered with their everyday life during every menstrual cycle. The survey was made up of more than 238,000 responses.
“It’s something that we’ve really ignored over the years, and expect that women will continue to function normally during the premenstrual phase as they do during other phases of their menstrual cycle. But maybe we should rethink that or really start to target treatments,” the doctor said.
Dr. Payne believes these symptoms show there is a biological aspect occurring, and she hopes to find what that is through another study so she can design better treatments. She said there also appears to be a cultural tie, since women all over the world had different levels of symptoms.
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