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Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder What's That?

Judith H. Gold, CM, MD, FRCPC, FRANZCP
JAMA. 1997;278(12):1024-1025. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550120084040.
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Categorizing the physical and psychological complaints linked to the menstrual cycle is controversial. Some view such efforts as a sociopolitical attempt to minimize, or encapsulate, women's complaints.1 Others, such as Yonkers et al2 in this issue, investigate treatments that alleviate these complaints.

See also p 983.

Premenstrual symptoms have been described for centuries. Many cultures have established rituals and myths related to the menstrual cycle; in North America, cartoons and even lapel buttons about premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are commonplace. Yet it is often unclear what is meant by PMS. Formal investigations of PMS began earlier in this century with the work of Frank in the United States and were furthered by Dalton in Britain.3 In the last 3 decades, many articles have been published dealing with both the etiology and treatment of premenstrual symptoms. By the mid 1980s, many clinicians had recognized that a small but significant


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