a1 University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford
The aim was to study women before and after hysterectomy (with conservation of the ovaries), in order to discover how far premenstrual symptoms are caused physically and how far psychologically. In such women both physical and psychological factors can influence premenstrual symptoms before hysterectomy; after the operation, in the absence of menstruation, only physical factors can do so. The subjects were 56 women awaiting hysterectomy for menorrhagia of benign origin. During three pre-operative months these women made daily self-ratings on a check-list in which typical premenstrual symptoms were interspersed with atypical symptoms; in this way their awareness of the premenstrual focus was minimized. Starting six months after hysterectomy, the women again kept daily check-lists for three months; over the same period their serum progesterone levels were measured to identify the premenstruum. After hysterectomy, levels of premenstrual symptoms fell significantly in the whole group, indicating that psychological factors were important determinants of such symptoms before hysterectomy.
c1 Address for correspondence: Dr M. F. Osborn, Department of Psychiatry, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester 13.