Prevalence, impacts and medical managements of premenstrual syndrome among female students: cross-sectional study in College of Health Sciences, Mekelle University, Mekelle, northern Ethiopia

BMC Womens Health. 2014 Mar 29;14:52. doi: 10.1186/1472-6874-14-52.


Background: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is used to describe physical, cognitive, affective, and behavioral symptoms that occur cyclically during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and resolve quickly at or within a few days of the onset of menstruation. The primary aim of the study was to assess the prevalence, impacts and medical managements of PMS on female medical students of Mekelle University College of Health Sciences.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among systematically selected female students of Mekelle University College of Health Sciences, Mekelle town, northern Ethiopia from March to April 2013. A structured and pretested self-administered questionnaire was employed for data collection. The collected data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL (SPSS version 16). The criteria proposed by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, text revision (DSM-IV TR) were used to diagnose PMS.

Result: From the total population size of 608; a sample size of 258 was drawn. Age of the study participants ranged from 18 to 25 years, with mean age of 20.86 ± 1.913 years. Among the participants, 144(83.2%) have had at least one PM symptoms with their menstrual period. The prevalence of PMS according to DSM-IV was 37.0%. About 49(28.3%) reported frequent class missing, 17(9.8%) exam missing, 14(8.1%) low grade scoring and 3(1.7%) of them reported withdrawal from their learning associated with their PMS. Only 83(48.0%) participants sought medical treatment for their PMS. The treatment modalities used were pain killers, 63(36.4%), hot drinks like coffee and tea, 13(7.5%), and massage therapy and exercise, 7(4.0%). Binary logistic regression analysis revealed average length of one cycle of menstruation (COR = 0.20(0.070-0.569) and academic performance impairment (AOR = 0.345(0.183-0.653) were significantly associated with the diagnosis of PMS and use of PMS treatments respectively.

Conclusions: Our study revealed a high prevalence and negative impact of PMS on students of Mekelle University. Therefore, health education, appropriate medical treatment and counseling services, as part of the overall health service, should be availed and provided to affected women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use
  • Coffee
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Massage
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tea
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult


  • Analgesics
  • Coffee
  • Tea