Symptoms related to the menstrual cycle: diagnosis, prevalence, and treatment

J Psychiatr Pract. 2008 Jan;14(1):13-21. doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000308491.54885.f8.


Menstrual cycle-related symptoms are associated with the intrinsic hormonal fluctuations of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms can be physical, behavioral, or emotional and include problems such as dysmenorrhea, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Because of the emotional and behavioral aspects of menstrual cycle-related symptoms, it is likely that clinical psychiatrists will encounter these symptoms in their daily practice and should therefore be familiar with their diagnosis, prevalence, etiology, and treatment. As many as 2.5 million women are affected by menstrual disorders each year, which can have a profound impact on their quality of life. Although a definitive etiology has yet to be established, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone as well as genetic factors are thought to contribute to the occurrence of menstrual disorders. Current treatment options include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (for dysmenorrhea), lifestyle changes, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and ovulation suppression (e.g., with oral contraceptives). Treatment with oral contraceptives (OCs), particularly extended or continuous use, may significantly reduce the incidence of menstrual cycle-related symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Menstrual Cycle / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovulation Inhibition
  • Premenstrual Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Premenstrual Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome* / prevention & control
  • Prevalence
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors