Methodological issues in studies of premenstrual changes

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1985;10(1):15-32. doi: 10.1016/0306-4530(85)90036-8.


The main methodological issues that should be considered in studies of premenstrual changes are discussed. They include: the selection of well-defined groups of subjects who reflect the diversity of subtypes of premenstrual changes (PMC); the confirmation of retrospective reports through daily monitoring of changes by ratings, or by objective procedures when possible; the need to consider the diversity of premenstrual biological changes instead of comparing average levels, since there is a likelihood that different pathophysiological changes are connected with diverse behavioral and mood changes; application of a multivariate, time-related approach to explore the pathophysiology of PMC; the need to exclude placebo responders prior to the active drug phase in treatment trials and the need for such trials to be double-blind, placebo-controlled and, if possible, of a cross-over design. Attention to such issues should lead to increased consistency of findings across studies and eventually to a better understanding of the pathophysiology of PMC and to a rational, effective treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 20-alpha-Dihydroprogesterone / therapeutic use
  • Contraceptives, Oral / therapeutic use
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary / blood
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy / psychology
  • Lithium / therapeutic use
  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Menstrual Cycle
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / etiology
  • Premenstrual Syndrome / therapy
  • Progesterone / blood
  • Progesterone / therapeutic use
  • Research Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Diuretics
  • Gonadotropins, Pituitary
  • 20-alpha-Dihydroprogesterone
  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • Lithium