Prevalence of premenstrual syndrome in autism: a prospective observer-rated study

J Int Med Res. Mar-Apr 2008;36(2):268-72. doi: 10.1177/147323000803600208.


A systematic, prospective observer-rated study was carried out to determine the prevalence of late luteal phase dysphoric disorder (premenstrual syndrome) in women with autism. A group of women with autism and learning disability (n = 26) was compared with a group of women with a non-autism learning disability (n = 36) matched for age, in-patient status, intelligence, marital status, parity, behavioural problems and ethnicity. Observers rated DSM-IV symptoms of late luteal phase dysphoric disorder every day from each subject over three consecutive menstrual cycles. Using a premenstrual increase in DSM-IV symptoms of >or= 30% as evidence of fulfilment of diagnostic criteria, the prevalence of late luteal phase dysphoric disorder was 92% in the autism group compared with 11% in the control group. This difference was highly statistically significant. The principal conclusion from this study is that there is a marked increase in premenstrual syndrome in women with autism compared with matched controls.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Autistic Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • England / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / complications
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies