A study of the knowledge and understanding of menstruation and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) among women in Manitoba

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Lee, Shirley,
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A study of the knowledge and understanding of menstruation and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) was conducted on a volunteer group of 43 women in Manitoba, Canada. All women were subject to intensive interviews of approximately 2 hours duration. Statements on menstruation and PMS were compiled from the interviews and these statements were utilized to generate consensus questionnaires. Consensus analysis, a technique used to explore the knowledge of individuals in a particular cultural domain, was conducted on the questionnaire data. The results of the study indicated that a majority of women in the sample perceived menstruation slightly positively, although there was a relatively high percentage of women with extremely positive attitudes (10 women or 23.8 per cent). Of the 43 women, 32 (74.4 per cent) reported that they experienced PMS. In terms of consensus analysis, women with PMS were found to be divided into two groups. The identification of two different groups reinforced the suggestion that PMS is framed quite differently among women who experience it. One of the criteria for division into two groups was the presence of emotional changes as opposed to physical changes with depression constituting a major component in the emotional group. While there was agreement within the PMS groups, a consensus was not found in terms of menstruation in general, except among two subgroups: the extremely positive group and the emotional PMS group. These two groups differed in many areas, particularly the way in which they conceptualized the changes occurring around menstruation and the way in which they viewed womanhood in today's society.