Objective: To evaluate the impact of premenstrual symptoms on activities of daily life (ADL) of Korean women, and their knowledge and treatment seeking regarding premenstrual syndromes (PMSs).
Methods: A population-based online survey regarding premenstrual symptoms was conducted in 1000 Korean women aged 15-49 years. Symptoms were classified according to their intensity, persistence each cycle, and impairment of ADL. Women's knowledge of PMSs and physician consultations were assessed.
Results: The approximate prevalence of PMS/premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) by the WHO's International Classification of Disease (ICD-10), American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV[4th edition]) criteria was 98.6, 32.1, and 2.8%, respectively. Among 23 documented symptoms, the most predominant symptoms were joint-muscle-back pain, abdominal pain, and irritability. Physical symptoms were more prevalent than mental symptoms. There was a high correlation between the duration and severity of symptoms. The impact of PMS on ADL and the proportion of women with impaired ADL were significantly associated with the severity of PMS. The proportion of women consulting physicians increased with severity of PMS from 2%, 2.3%, for ICD-10, ACOG PMS to 10.7% for DSM-IV PMDD, respectively. Most of the women (91.5%) had no knowledge regarding terminology pertaining to PMS and PMDD.
Conclusion: PMSs occur frequently and have a significant impact on daily life for a proportion of Korean women. However, Korean women have little knowledge about PMSs and only infrequently consult their physicians.