Pattern of gastrointestinal and somatic symptoms across the menstrual cycle

Gastroenterology. 1992 Feb;102(2):505-13. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(92)90097-i.


The pattern of gastrointestinal symptoms and select mood and somatic symptoms was examined across two menstrual cycles in women with (n = 19) and without (n = 39) functional bowel distress (FBD). The women (a) rated their gastrointestinal, perimenstrual, mood, and other symptoms and stool frequency and consistency daily; (b) completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire-T; and (c) had serum levels of estrogen and progesterone measured during the menses, follicular, and luteal phases. Stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea were rated higher at menses in the group with FBD than in the group without FBD. Stomach pain was higher during the remaining days as well. The group with FBD reported higher levels of perimenstrual symptoms also on six of the eight Menstrual Distress Questionnaire-T subscales (P less than 0.01). Other complaints, e.g., poor work/school performance, were higher in women with FBD, but somatic symptoms that were expected to vary over the cycle did not differ between groups, except cramping pain. There were no significant group differences in ovarian hormone levels or stool consistency/frequency scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / physiopathology*
  • Colonic Diseases, Functional / psychology
  • Constipation / etiology
  • Diarrhea / etiology
  • Digestive System / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Menstrual Cycle / psychology
  • Nausea / etiology
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Progesterone