Backgrounds: Many women suffer from peri-menstrual symptoms. This study focused on the acceptance of menstruation and assessed coping methods from both the physical and mental aspects.
Methods: Female college students (n=122) were recruited from the Faculty of Nursing, Chiang Mai University. Subjects responded to a survey consisting of questionnaires about their menstruation, peri-menstrual symptoms, and coping behaviors (examples, satisfaction), and three psychometric measurements (State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), Generalized Self-Efficacy Scale, and the Tri-Axial Coping Scale). Also, 25 subjects suffering from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and 25 non-PMS subjects were investigated in terms of the activity of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) using heart rate variability and the cold pressor test. These surveys were conducted twice: once before and once after ovulation.
Results: The subjects who had severe menstrual problem showed significantly low satisfaction with their coping behaviors. About half of the subjects were not satisfied with their coping behaviors because they need more practical information about methods of coping. In the secretory phase, there was no significant difference in levels of coping satisfaction. However, Low satisfied group showed a relatively high STAI score and a low Self-Efficacy score. Additionally, the activated sympathetic nerves appeared to become dominant over the parasympathetic nerves in the secretory phase.
Conclusion: The severity of menstruation was correlated to low satisfaction with coping behaviors. This severity was affected by the cyclic change of menstruation and activity of the ANS. This study suggests providing more practical education for young women.