Luteal Phase Ovarian Steroids, Stress Arousal, Premenses Perceived Stress, and Premenstrual Symptoms

Nancy Fugate Woods, Martha Jane Lentz, Ellen Sullivan Mitchell, Joan Shaver, Margaret Heitkemper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among perceived stress, ovarian steroids (estradiol and pregnanediol), stress arousal indicators (cortisol, catecholamines) and premenstrual symptoms (turmoil, fluid retention). Women (N = 74) with low symptom severity (LS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), or premenstrual magnification (PMM) symptom patterns provided daily urine samples over one cycle and recorded their symptoms and perceived stress levels in a health diary. Multiple regression analysis was used to test models of premenstrual symptoms in separate analyses for women with the LS and PMS symptom patterns and the LS and PMM symptom patterns. Data from the LS and PMS groups revealed that greater stress ratings accounted for turmoil symptoms and higher luteal phase cortisol levels for fluid retention symptoms. For LS and PMM groups, lower luteal phase norepinephrine levels, higher global stress ratings, and a more gradual drop in estradiol premenses accounted for turmoil symptoms. Premenses norepinephrine and epinephrine levels and premenses stress ratings accounted for fluid retention. These findings support an important relationship among perceived stress, stress arousal indicators, and premenstrual symptoms that differs for women with a PMS and PMM symptom pattern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1998


  • Ovarian steroids
  • Premenstrual magnification
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Stress
  • Stress arousal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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