n International SportMed Journal - Benefits of exercise for premenstrual syndrome : a review : review article




Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is defined as a recurrent luteal-phase condition characterised by physical, psychological, and behavioural changes of sufficient severity to result in deterioration of interpersonal relationships and normal activity. Several treatments appear to be effective. Among these are increased physical activity, dietary change, mineral salt supplementation, ovulation inhibitors, and some anxiolytic drugs.

Review of the literature to evaluate the effects of exercise on PMS.
A MEDLINE/EMBASE search for all studies published between 1970 and 2003 was performed.
Three prospective studies were included. The largest study reported significant differences between the exercise (n=97) and the non-exercise group (n=159). The results revealed a significant positive effect of exercise on negative mood states and physical symptoms. In the second study (n=15), the exercisers experienced decreases in physical and emotional symptoms over time with no changes in the non-exercise group (n=6). The third study (n=23) evaluated the effects of aerobic exercise and strength training on premenstrual symptoms. There was a general improvement in several premenstrual symptoms, particularly in depressed mood.
The limited data available on exercise and PMS show a significant improvement in the symptomatology of the disorder and suggest a benefit from regular exercise. Aerobic exercise should be recommended as first-line therapy because of the large number of other health benefits. However, the impact of exercise on PMS needs to be assessed in greater detail with rigorous methodology to draw firm conclusions.


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