Objective: Criteria for defining premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were assessed by comparing a reference definition previously demonstrated to be associated with reduced health-related quality of life and impaired productivity with alternative definitions based on criteria stringency variations.
Methods: Health-related quality of life data were collected from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) for women aged 18-64 years. Women maintained daily calendars of emotional and physical symptoms and work productivity. PMS prevalence and differences in health-related quality of life and work productivity between women with and without PMS were compared using alternative definitions.
Results: Across criteria, PMS prevalence ranged from 19% to 30%. Regardless of the criteria used, PMS was associated with reductions in health-related quality of life, with Mental Components Subscale scores 5-12 points lower for women with PMS compared to those without PMS. Likewise, across definitions, women with PMS had greater work productivity impairment than women without PMS, netting 4 additional days with reduced productivity per month.
Conclusions: PMS prevalence varies based on criteria used to define illness. However, PMS is associated with reductions in health-related quality of life and work productivity impairment regardless of the criteria used.