Background: Research on premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is generally lacking in the Gulf countries, a region with unique cultural features that might influence expectations and self-perception of the disease. Little, if any, is known about the knowledge and attitude among women in Tabuk toward PMS. The shortage of such data in the general female Saudi population, too, emphasizes this concept, and hence the need to research on it.
Objective: To study knowledge and attitude of women attending Primary Health Care Centers, Ministry of Health toward PMS, as well as to identify factors affecting them.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted consists of Saudi female aged 1350 years attending family medicine clinics, King Khalid military hospital, Tabuk (nine clinics), throughout the period of study (OctoberNovember, 2014). Simple random sampling technique was adopted to select nine women every day to fill in the study questionnaire. Thus, approximately 25 working days were required to complete the field work. An Arabic self-administered questionnaire was used. It consisted of four sections. The first section is on the sociodemographic and reproductive characteristic of the participants. The second section covered the medical and reproductive history. The third section addressed PMS diagnostic criteria, as developed by the University of California at San Diego and the National Institute of Mental Health. The fourth section of the questionnaire involved their knowledge about PMS.
Results: The study included 225 females. Their age ranged between 13 and 45 years (mean 26.7 ± 7.2 years). Almost one-third of the participants (30.2%) reported family history of PMS. The prevalence rate of PMS among them was 56%. Only 8.9% of women recognized correctly that PMS is a gynecological disease while 30.2% recognized that it necessitates medical consultation. When women asked if they were PMS patients, what they will do, 21.3% of them answered that they will use medical treatment directly from pharmacy, 11.6% will consult physician, and 21.8% will use traditional therapy. Almost one-third of them (35.6%) responded that they will do nothing. Majority of participated women (89.3%) responded positively that they will benefit others in this regard.
Conclusion: PMS is a common problem in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia, affecting more than half of women. The number of women who will seek medical advice or treatment for PMS if they were PMS patients is not very promising since the disorders of the menstrual cycle and its associated complications are considered as normal phenomenon in Saudi society.
Key words: Premenstrual syndrome; knowledge; attitude; Saudi Arabia