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J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2009 Jun;18(6):895-9. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2008.1098.

Exercise and premenstrual symptomatology: a comprehensive review.

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University of Birmingham, Primary Care and General Practice, Edgbaston, Clinical Sciences Building, Edgbaston, Birmingham B302EH, United Kingdom.



Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) refers to a constellation of regular, recurring, psychological or somatic complaints, or both, that occur specifically during the luteal phase of the ovulatory menstrual cycle and that resolve by the onset of or during menstruation. Many women of reproductive age experience PMS. Exercise has been proposed as a potential treatment in this regard, and several observational studies have reported a reduction in PMS and associated symptomatology in physically active women relative to their less active counterparts.


This review seeks to synthesize the available literature regarding the effects of exercise on PMS, with emphasis on findings from intervention studies. Studies were identified by systematically searching relevant databases.


Four eligible intervention studies were identified; all of these reported a reduction in PMS and related symptomatology after participation in exercise interventions. However, studies to date have recruited small samples and have been of low methodological quality.


There is a paucity of research on the effects of exercise on PMS. Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has advised that regular aerobic exercise may help relieve PMS, to make any evidence-based policy recommendations regarding the effectiveness of exercise, more high-quality research is required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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