Premenstrual Syndrome Is Associated with Dietary and Lifestyle Behaviors among University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study from Sharjah, UAE

Nutrients. 2019 Aug 17;11(8):1939. doi: 10.3390/nu11081939.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a cyclical late luteal phase disorder of the menstrual cycle whereby the daily functioning of women is affected by emotional and physical symptoms substantially interfering with their quality of life. Little is known about PMS in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This study aimed to determine the prevalence and severity of PMS among university students in Sharjah, UAE, and clarify its associations with dietary habits, lifestyle behaviors, and anthropometric factors. A cross-sectional study was conducted on female college students at the University of Sharjah, UAE. Data were collected using self-administered questionnaires and anthropometric assessments. Descriptive statistics and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed. Participants were 300 adult university students aged 18-24 years (mean age 20.07 ± 1.53 years). In total, 95% of participants reported at least one PMS symptom during their menstrual period. The prevalence of PMS was 35.3%, with mild symptoms being the most commonly reported. Multiple regression analysis showed that smoking was associated with increased risk of reporting psychological (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.1-5.8; p < 0.05) and behavioral symptoms (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0-4.9; p < 0.05), while high calorie/fat/sugar/salt foods intake was associated with increased risk of reporting physical symptoms (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.4-7.3; p < 0.05). However, fruit consumption (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.125-0.92; p < 0.05) was associated with a decreased risk of reporting behavioral symptoms. A high prevalence of PMS was reported among university students, with smoking and high calorie/fat/sugar/salt food consumption identified as strong risk factors for PMS.

Keywords: Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS); anthropometry; dietary habits; lifestyle behaviors.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Emotions
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / etiology*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / psychology
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking*
  • Students
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Arab Emirates / epidemiology
  • Universities*
  • Young Adult