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The University of Southampton

New discoveries about PMS in Southampton

Published: 7 October 2004

A major study into premenstrual syndrome by a University of Southampton researcher has revealed possible links between the condition, a woman's Body Mass Index (BMI) and whether or not she uses hormonal contraceptives.

Dr Carrie Sadler will present preliminary results of her investigations at a women's health conference organised by the National Association for Premenstrual Syndrome in Basingstoke on Friday (8 October) .

Initial findings show most women recorded some problems in the days leading up to their period, with 21 per cent of the sample studied suffering with two or more symptoms. In addition, the chances of having symptoms are more likely for heavier women with a higher BMI and less likely for women using hormonal contraception such as the Pill or the contraceptive injection.

More than 1,800 women taking part in the pioneering Southampton Women's Survey were invited to complete a menstrual diary over six weeks for the study. The research team received replies from 52 per cent of them.

Dr Sadler commented, "Women aged between 16 and 54 make up 28 per cent of the population. They have an essential role in society. If up to one in five experience significant premenstrual symptoms, this has to be taken seriously."

Notes for editors

The Southampton Women's Survey started in 1998. Since then, researchers from the Medical Research Council and the University have interviewed 12,500 women in their homes, and followed over 2,000 women through pregnancy. It builds on work conducted by the Medical Research Council at the University, which has shown that growth from the very earliest days in the womb affects health in adulthood, particularly the risks of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

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