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Volunteers needed for premenstrual syndrome trial


Brigid Veale
15 March 2005
More than 200 women from the Coffs Harbour to Lismore area who experience premenstrual syndrome are being sought to take part in a study by the Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine Education and Research at Southern Cross University.

The study, to be run at four centres in Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Lismore, will look at how multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplements can help reduce symptoms associated with PMS.

The Australian Centre for Complementary Medicine is a joint venture between the University of Queensland and Southern Cross University dedicated to exploring the science of complementary medicine.

A recent study reported that 55% of women experienced PMS symptoms that interfered with their lifestyle, and for some it could have a severe impact on their physical, mental and emotional health.

Cathy Avila, coordinator of the PMS Multivitamin, Mineral and Herbal study, said PMS could impact on all areas of a woman’s life, from her sense of physical and mental well being through to the state of her relationships and work absenteeism.

“Many women feel guilty about their premenstrual mood changes and behaviour and feel frustrated by their inability to ‘control’ their emotions and this in turn affects their self esteem,” said Ms Avila.

This is the second trial of the multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement used in the first PMS study. The first trial which involved 80 women from the region showed a 50% reduction in PMS symptoms for those receiving the multivitamin, mineral and herbal supplement.

“We got very positive results, from the first trial of the supplement, so I would encourage women who are searching for ways to alleviate their PMS symptoms to call us if they would like to join the second trial,” Ms Avila said.

Current medical treatments for PMS include use of the oral contraceptives; diuretics, and pain killers. Side-effects form these drugs can be significant and none of these treatments provides a cure.

Naturopaths recommend various herbs and supplements for women with PMS – and many women report good results, however few of these have been studied scientifically.

Researchers are looking for 220 healthy women who regularly experience PMS, are between the age of 18 and 45 years old and not currently being treated for PMS or taking daily medications. Ms Avila would also like to hear from 50 healthy women in the same age range who experience very mild PMS or have no symptoms at all, to form a comparison group.

Potential volunteers for the study should contact Cathy Avila at the Southern Cross University’s School of Natural and Complementary Medicine on 02 6626 9183.

Interview and photo opportunity: Cathy Avila will be at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus Wednesday, March 16.