What is Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)?
The premenstrual syndrome refers to a series of emotional and physical symptoms that occur a week or two before a woman’s period. Each woman experiences a different set of symptoms and it usually happens at the start of bleeding.
Usually, common PMS symptoms include bloating, tender breasts, acne,irritability, feeling tired, and also mood changes. These symptoms can last for over six days.
How PMS is Perceived
You may have noticed several YouTube skits on “how girls behave in their periods” or perhaps how almost every girl is portrayed as a stereotypical “crazed hormonal woman,” making you think that any girl on her period is incapable of basic daily functions or activities.
Other than menstruation, hormones are touted as turning women into depressed and dangerous individuals after giving birth and that it makes them unhappy when they hit menopause.
Is PMS Real, or Not?
But while there have been numerous studies and analysis done on the existence of PMS and its side effects, there have been others that say otherwise. At least as far as one psychologist by the name ofRobyn Stein DeLuca says so in her story with the Daily Mail.
Now, this is just one person’s view against many others and it might not matter at the end of the day. However, looking carefully at the studies done since the 90s, there is actually little hard evidence that suggests hormones have any role to play on women’s emotions during menstruation.
For over a decade, psychologist DeLuca has been researching as well as writing about postpartum depression and women’s health. In her book titled The Hormone Myth, she challenged how most of their culture disregards actual personal frustrations of women by referring to them as “just hormones” and referring to actual depression as “mood swings.”
Ms. DeLuca gives us an insight into what she considers to be a stereotype that has been harmful to women for a long time and how she understands the irritable, weepy or anxious emotions that many women experience during their periods.
PSM is Real!
Why Robyn Stein DeLuca Wrote Her Book
Ms. DeLuca states that she wrote her book because she wanted to encourage people to be skeptical about what they may have heard or read about PMS. She claims that research does not support the existence of a range of mental disorders when women go through hormonal changes. She also desires women to be generous to themselves and other women when they express negative emotions.
The Danger of Saying “I’m feeling hormonal” or Blaming PMS for Your Feelings
Ms. DeLuca is sad when women feel like their bodies are betraying them or that they cannot trust themselves. It prevents them from figuring out what’s really going on with their bodies and it allows other people to easily dismiss any kind of disagreement or anger that the women might have with them.
For instance, women tend to get moody or tearful upon giving birth. This is a natural phase that typically goes away on its own. But when it comes to a full depressive episode, something which lasts for about two weeks where the women feel utterly sad, hopeless, find no pleasure in anything and exhausted, it is known as postpartum depression. Hormones don’t actually play any role in that, but other people get the wrong idea about it.
What Goes On When Women Get Postpartum Depression?
It is important for a woman to check whether she has had depression before having a baby. We have to understand what she is going through when she comes home. Is her marital relationship good? Do her friends and family support her? Those are things that are most crucial.
Is It All Hormones When Women Feel Sad And Angry Before Their Period?
Ms. DeLuca says that reproductive hormones can cause emotional or physical symptoms and not mental disorders. There is no such thing as widespread PMS because not a lot of women get depressed due to their hormones.
Why PMS is a Myth
What Do You Mean By Widespread? Is PMS Real or Not?
At this point, PMS has so many possible symptoms that now it’s difficult to know the exact definition of it. Studies estimate that between 5-97% of women have PMS. In other words, almost no one and everyone gets PMS. Since it wasn’t scientific, psychologists had to narrow down the symptoms down to 11, which means that women could have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
There are specific guidelines on how one can be diagnosed with PMS in which there has to be at least two or three cycles in a row and that you experience dysfunction to the point where it threatens your relationship or your work.
However, psychologists have to be sure that it is not just another disorder that is happening. Using these guidelines, the percentage of diagnosed were much smaller, about 3-8%. In other words, it seems to affect a small group of people.
What Are Hormones Responsible For Then?
There are indeed a number of things the reproductive hormones are responsible for. We’ll name just a few of these things here.
Hormones have some psychological influence; like people who gender-transition are given hormones and then report feeling different, especially when they’re given hormones of the gender they were not born with.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) most certainly aggravated by hormonal changes, which can cause women a lot of pain to an extent where they require treatment for it.
Hormones can indeed be responsible for irregular periods. Hormonal imbalances are actually the most common cause of this.
During perimenopause, estrogen levels are dropping which can lead to all sorts of symptoms like weight gain, hot flashes, missed periods, irregular periods, irritability, headaches, etc.
Changing hormones can also lead to an increase or decrease of vaginal discharge throughout the menstrual cycle, and also during pregnancy.
What Do We Make of Places That Have a “Menstrual Leave” Policy?
Some women experience such severe cramps that they think they need a day off, but it’s actually not that many people. It is quite controversial. Sure, you have to validate what people are going through, but what exactly is the cost of it when it is applied as a whole?
Is there the possibility that some people may take advantage of a policy like this to take extra “vacation” days each month? Is it unfair that men don’t get this same kind of paid leave? There are a number of issues to address with paid menstrual leave for PMS or PMDD.
Ms. DeLuca believes that putting information out to the public that you’re being so affected by your menstrual cycle just to skip out on meetings or making a big decision really undermines women. Women are capable of so much in their life; and time of the month of time of their lives have little to do with something that they think is severe and requires immediate medical examination.
IS PMS Real? The Takeaway
Talk to your friends and family members. Probably almost all of them will say that they suffer from PMS.
However, according to Robyn Stein Deluca, PMS isn’t really a thing and it’s a kind of myth that people, and society tell themselves.
What’s the truth, and is PMS real? The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle.
According to this article on WebMD, some people really do experience symptoms of PMS. However, they’re less severe and rarer than many people are led to believe.
There are only a very small minority of people who have symptoms bad enough (PMDD) that they are unable to go to work or school because of them. But of course, you’ll have to come to your own conclusions about this somewhat controversial topic.
What about Post-Menstrual Disorder
Even more controversial than PMS is Post Menstrual Disorder. It’s basically like having the symptoms of PMS, except that it’s after your period.
You can learn more about it here: PMS Symptoms after My Period.
Is PMS Real? Have your Say!
What do you think: is PMS real, or not? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.