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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The interrelation between premenstrual syndrome and major depression: Results from a population-based sample

Christine Forrester-Knauss12*, Elisabeth Zemp Stutz12, Carine Weiss12 and Sibil Tschudin3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH), Socinstr. 57, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

2 University of Basel, Petersplatz 1, 4003 Basel, Switzerland

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospital Basel, Spitalstrasse 21, 4031 Basel, Switzerland

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BMC Public Health 2011, 11:795  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-795

Published: 12 October 2011

Abstract

Background

Research about the relationship between premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and major depression is limited. This study examined the relationship between moderate to severe PMS and major depression in a population-based sample of women of reproductive age. The objectives of the study were to assess the association between premenstrual syndrome and major depression, to analyse how PMS and major depression differ and to characterise the group of women who report both PMS and major depression.

Methods

Data were obtained from the Swiss Health Survey 2007. Included in the analysis was data from women under the age of 55 without hysterectomy and who answered the questions on PMS symptoms. The population-based sample consisted of 3518 women. Weighted prevalence rates were calculated and relative risk ratios for PMS, major depression and women who reported both PMS and major depression, were calculated with logistic multinominal logit regression.

Results

The prevalence of major depression was 11.3% in women screening positive for moderate PMS and 24.6% in women screening positive for severe PMS. Compared to women without any of these conditions, women who reported moderate to severe alcohol consumption had a lower risk for PMS. Women reporting use of antidepressants, and use of oral contraceptives had a higher risk for major depression compared to women without any of these conditions. Women reporting work dissatisfaction had a higher risk for PMS. A higher relative risk to report both PMS and major depression compared to women without PMS or major depression was related to factors such as high psychological distress, low mastery, psychotropic drug consumption, and low self-rated health.

Conclusions

The results suggested that women who suffer from both PMS and major depression are more impaired compared to women with only one disorder. The results further indicated that PMS and major depression are different disorders that can, however, co-occur.

Keywords:
Premenstrual syndrome; major depression