The true prevalence of PMS is unknown because a prospective, community-based epidemiological study of the syndrome has not yet been conducted. Nevertheless, it is estimated that 20 to 40% of women report some premenstrual symptoms and that 5% of women experience some degree of significant impairment of their work or lifestyle. These figures are consistent with retrospective epidemiological survey data that report the prevalence of PMS to be 6.8% and with two population-based studies that report the prevalence of PMS to be 4.6% and 9.8%, respectively.

The frequency of PMS in different cultures remains undetermined, although at least 24 countries have published studies of PMS. Retrospective surveys of premenstrual symptoms have led to the belief that PMS affects women equally, regardless of socioeconomic status or culture; this belief is a hypothesis that merits further investigation.

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