Mood changes and physical complaints during the normal menstrual cycle in healthy young women

Reinhold G. Laessle, Reinhard J. Tuschi, Ulrich Schweiger, Karl M. Pirke*

*Corresponding author for this work
68 Citations (Scopus)


Significant emotional and physical symptoms have been linked to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. A critical evaluation of the available studies questions the commonly held belief in menstrual-cycle-related complaints in the majority of normal women. The present study investigated changes in mood, somatic complaints and vegetative variables during the menstrual cycle in 30 healthy young women. Normal cycle function was evaluated and cycle phases were defined according to endocrine data. For all subjects, blood samples were taken at least three times a week to measure estradiol and progesterone. Daily ratings of psychological variables revealed no significant changes in global mood or depression over the cycle. Somatic complaints such as abdominal pain and breast tenderness were significantly related to the luteal, premenstrual, and menstrual phases. Appetite increased in the periovulatory and premenstrual phases. There was a tendency for sexual interest to be highest in the post-menstrual period. Affect and vegetative variables showed no association with hormone levels but were significantly correlated with subjective stress ratings. We conclude that in most healthy young women, cycle-related hormone fluctuations are not accompanied by marked affective changes. Specific physical complaints, however, do occur, particularly in the luteal, premenstrual, and menstrual phases.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)131-138
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1990

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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