The frequency and severity of physical and emotional menstrual symptoms were investigated with a cross-sectional study of 502 women not seeking treatment for menstrual symptoms. The most frequent symptoms were abdominal bloating, backache, headache, constipation, low abdominal pain, fatigue and symptoms related to depression. Some symptoms increased during the late luteal phase, and others were related to the women's life-style. Lack of schooling and living in rural areas were associated with headache, backache, sadness, insecurity, restlessness and weakness. Women from urban areas with more schooling had more breast tenderness, abdominal pain, irritability, depression, aggressiveness and increased sexual desire. Younger women had increased appetite, lack of concentration, insecurity, desire to be alone, weakness and dissatisfaction with their looks. Heavier women had more leg cramps, swollen feet, lack of coordination and polydipsia. Menstrual symptoms seem to be determined by the interplay of the menstrual cycle with biologic factors and life-style.
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