Original Research

Premenstrual symptoms and remedies practiced by Malaysian women attending a rural primary care clinic

Khairani Omar, Siti S. Mohsin, Leelavathi Muthupalaniappen, Idayu B. Idris, Rahmah M. Amin, Khadijah Shamsudin
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 1, No 1 | a18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v1i1.18 | © 2009 Khairani Omar, Siti S. Mohsin, Leelavathi Muthupalaniappen, Idayu B. Idris, Rahmah M. Amin, Khadijah Shamsudin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 December 2008 | Published: 17 June 2009

About the author(s)

Khairani Omar, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Siti S. Mohsin, Hospital Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
Leelavathi Muthupalaniappen, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Idayu B. Idris, Universiti Kebagnsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Rahmah M. Amin, Universiti Kebagnsaan Malaysia, Malaysia
Khadijah Shamsudin, Universiit Kebagnsaan Malayisa, Malaysia

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Abstract

Background: Premenstrual symptoms affect about 40% of women of reproductive age. In an effort to alleviate premenstrual symptoms, affected women practice various remedial approaches. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence and severity of premenstrual symptoms experienced by women, the associated factors and the remedial approaches practiced by them.

Method: This was a cross-sectional study conducted at a rural primary care clinic situated in Hulu Langat, Malaysia. All women of reproductive age (18 to 44 years old) attending the clinic during the study period and who fit the selection criteria were included. Premenstrual symptoms and severity were assessed using a self-report questionnaire, the Shortened Premenstrual Assessment Form (SPAF). It consists of 10 items that measure changes in mood, behaviour and physical symptoms. The respondents were also asked if they had used any remedy to relieve their symptoms.

Results: A total of 158 women were included in the study. The majority of the respondents were Malay (70.3%), followed by Indian (16.5%) and Chinese (10.8%) women. About 75% of the women experienced at least one of the premenstrual symptoms. Approximately 7% of them reported experiencing severe symptoms in all three subscales of the SPAF. The frequently reported symptoms were body ache (75.3%), abdominal pain (75.3%), irritable feeling (63.9%) and breast discomfort (61.4%). The symptom score was higher among Malay women (p = 0.034), and those with a higher household income (p = 0.037) and higher educational level (p = 0.01). There was no significant association between premenstrual symptoms and age, marital status, menstrual cycle and age of menarche. The common remedies used were vitamins (19%), a healthy diet (15.8%) and analgesics (13.3%). Approximately 60% of the women did not use any remedy to reduce their premenstrual symptoms.

Conclusion: Premenstrual symptoms were common among women attending the clinic. The symptoms affect them significantly both physically and emotionally. Thus, it is essential for primary care providers to take an active role in identifying, educating and managing premenstrual symptoms among women.


Keywords

premenstrual symptoms; premenstrual syndrome; reproductive age women; remedies; primary care

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