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From premenstrual + tension


premenstrual tension (uncountable)

  1. Premenstrual syndrome; the physical and psychological malaise experienced by many women between ovulation and the onset of menstruation.
    • 1950: Louis Portnoy, Jules Saltman, Fertility in Marriage: A Guide for the Childless
      There may be an actual distaste for sexual relations for a week or so prior to the period, perhaps as part of a picture of general irritability and vague feelings of discomfort of which some women complain; the name "premenstrual tension" has been applied to this.
    • 1950: Public Health Service publication no. 263, sect. 20, 1969
      However, the pervasive social impact of the premenstrual tension comes from psychological, behavioral change, and this is the time of month that women are likely to be admitted to psychiatric wards.
    • 2006: Corey L.M. Keyes, Sherryl H. Goodman, Women and Depression: A Handbook for the Social, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences
      In 1931, Frank coined the term premenstrual tension, in reference to the cyclical recurrence of tension, anxiety, and suicidal ideation in 15 women during their premenstrual phase.

Usage notesEdit

The term was coined in 1931 by Robert T. Frank of New York, the first doctor to treat all symptoms of premenstrual tension, both psychological and physical, as having the same underlying cause. Although the name might seem to imply consideration of psychological symptoms only, he defined it as relating to both. The phrase premenstrual syndrome, coined in 1953, is preferred in USA and some other countries, possibly because it appears more neutral in this respect.


Related termsEdit