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Behav Med. 1993 Spring;19(1):13-9.

Relationships between self-reported symptoms of infection, menstrual-cycle-related distress, and cycle phase.

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College of Nursing, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


This study examined the relationships between symptoms of common infectious illnesses, menstrual cycle phase, and cycle-related distress. Sixty-five women who had regular menstrual cycles and were not taking birth control pills were the convenience sample for this research. Subjects completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ), the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and an investigator-developed symptom checklist (SCL) that inventoried symptoms of common respiratory, skin, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary infections. The subjects completed all questionnaires three times during the menstrual cycle (during menstruation, midcycle, and premenstruum). The results of the study indicated a highly significant clustering of infectious illness symptoms during the perimenstrual period compared with midcycle. There were significant relationships between scores on the MDQ and PSS and the frequency and intensity of infection symptoms throughout the cycle. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of the effects of phase, PSS, MDQ, and SCL scores revealed that phasic influences were not significant when MDQ scores were controlled. PSS and MDQ scores significantly influenced symptom scores when phase was controlled, suggesting a general relationship between distress and infectious symptoms during the menstrual cycle.

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