344 Days ’til 40: PMS Explanation or Excuse? Fact or Fiction?

14 Mar

PMS – Three little initials that can send the best of us running to hide (whether we are experiencing PMS or the wrath of another person’s PMS).  BUT, is it fact or fiction?  Explanation or excuse?

When my youngest (now 8) was 4 she endearingly came to me one afternoon and said, “Mom, you are grumpy, are you peeing and messing???”   Out of the mouths of babes.

The question is, “Is PMS REAL?”  While some hormotional women may shoot me for even agreeing to pose such a question, I think it is critical to ask the questions in order to promote understanding.  So, yes, I will first start by saying that I do indeed believe that PMS is real.  It seems to have varying degrees from minor annoyances to complete debilitation.  It is not always an easy syndrome to cope with and it is widely misunderstood, mocked, and misrepresented.

What PMS is:

  • A set of emotional and/ or physical symptoms caused by the female hormonal cycle, usually presenting from ovulation through the beginning of menses.
  • A monthly occurrence.
  • Controlled in part by diet, exercise, vitamins, and (when necessary), pharmaceutical intervention.
  • Highly misunderstood, even by those who suffer greatly from it.

What PMS is not:

  • An excuse to be a bitch (ie:  it is not a license to treat people like emotional or physical punching bags).
  • A woman being nasty.
  • A made-up disorder.
  • Another way to make fun of women.
  • Only in a woman’s head.
  • An excuse to eat tons of junk food once a month, especially chocolate.
  • Blaming the person in distress.


  • Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT – DO NOT EVER ask a hormotional woman if she is PMSing.
  • Do NOT believe a hormotional woman if she responds to your stupidly asked question, “Are you PMSing?”  with “NO, I AM NOT PMSing!!!  Can’t I just be upset?!?”  She probably is PMSing, she will NOT admit this to you.
  • Do not use your own PMS as an excuse to justify mean behavior – there is no excuse for being mean and this is a disservice to your fellow sisters.
  • If you are PMSing, try not to give in to food cravings, eating hoards of junk food can often exacerbate emotional and physical symptoms.


  • Be supportive.
  • Listen.
  • Lay low.
  • Remind yourself that PMS is a temporary state and this too shall pass. (This is good advice for a person experiencing PMS symptoms, and for their supporters.)
  • Eat healthy.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take vitamins, especially B vitamins and calcium.

So, the next time you hear someone mention PMS, please know that it is indeed real.  There are steps that can be taken to lessen the impact of PMS, and if an individual suffers greatly, they need to be evaluated by a physician for proper PMS treatment.  I certainly find that when I eat right, exercise more often, and am aware of my own body needs and cycles I can often ward off the strong effects of my peeing and messing.

Today, 344 days ’til 40, I will remind myself to take care of myself and others during PMS.  I will NOT use PMS as an excuse, but will understand its explanation so that the knowledge will be my power for effective personal growth and change.



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29 responses to “344 Days ’til 40: PMS Explanation or Excuse? Fact or Fiction?

  1. BeingmrsdrD

    March 14, 2012 at 00:20

    I agree with all of the lists…but why no chocolate???…its my one time guilt-free indulgence in the month! Indeed asking a PMSing woman if she is PMSing is only for those who like to tread in dangerous waters. Great post!

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:19

      Ah, yes, BeingmrsdrD. You are one of a few people who corrected me for my demonizing chocolate!!!! 🙂

      • BeingmrsdrD

        March 15, 2012 at 00:00

        The thing is, it safe for all concerned if I get my chocolate at said time of the month 🙂

  2. DiabeticallyYours

    March 14, 2012 at 00:28

    I always seem to break one rule – Do not give in to food cravings. Argh! Its SOOO hard!

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:18

      Yes, diabetic ally yours, I also struggle with this (some months more than others!!!) I wish I had an easy answer, though I guess if I did I would be rich, right???

  3. Stuart Hyde - shpics

    March 14, 2012 at 00:59

    Hey…Thanks for the ‘like’ on my blog….
    And Forty is a breeze…Just enjoy it and enjoy your blogging in the meantime.

  4. terry1954

    March 14, 2012 at 02:13

    great subject reading

  5. Rinth

    March 14, 2012 at 02:31

    A great post :). Yes, laying low is important if you suffer from serious moodswings (which everybody doesn’t to actually). I prefer isolating myself from certain people or avoid discussing sensitive topics during that time. It’s easier to simply avoid things than taking the risk of having to clean up your PMess :P.

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:17

      Thank you, Rinth.
      You also bring up another strategy – it is okay to lay low -sometimes a few days of hermit-like behaviors beats us having to apologize for saying things we regret!!!

      • Rinth

        March 14, 2012 at 23:25


  6. Ryann Murphy

    March 14, 2012 at 03:02

    I positively HATE when women use it as an excuse.. it makes all those times I’ve heard, “Geez, you sure are mad about ‘this’.. you pms’ing or something?” a hundred times worse.
    Just because I’m mad doesn’t mean I’m pmsing and just because you’re mean doesn’t mean its pms.

    The idea that few would think PMS is not real — well that’s just ridiculous. Let’s look at biology for a second and ask any one of those that ‘disbelieve’ if they’ve had teenagers in their house or remember being a teenager themselves. Hormones do crazy things. They can physically alter the way you look permanently and make you a raging roller coaster.. so why would that change when you’re an adult experiencing hormonal cycles?

    But, I was saying, Excellent post 🙂 Great lesson learned before 40 🙂

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:15

      Thank you, Ryann. I love your response to my post – everything you wrote is so true!!!

  7. dzephaniah

    March 14, 2012 at 06:31

    I think that feminists invented PMS. I don’t anyone bitch, being a man or a woman.

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 08:07

      Wow, that is a pretty strong comment to make. There is medical proof for PMS, but it has been WAY overused as an excuse for people to treat others poorly – I imagine some other readers may have something to say about your comment!

  8. Onlyspartanwomen

    March 14, 2012 at 20:22

    Great post! I concur with all but the part about chocolate–PMS is an excellent excuse for chocolate! Lol

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:10

      Okay, Onlyspartanwomen, I know when to admit defeat and several people have corrected my inappropriate demonization of chocolate!!!

  9. Barbara Saber Willis

    March 14, 2012 at 22:21

    I love the way you write! Your 40’s will be fabulous!

    • 400daystil40

      March 14, 2012 at 23:09

      Thank you, Barbara. Writing is not something that always came easy to me. It used to be a chore, and now it is something I love! Thank you for stopping by!
      ~400daystil40 🙂

  10. AlyssTG

    March 15, 2012 at 00:50

    This is a great post – I started getting PMS when I was ON the birth control pill at the age of 24. I’ve been off for almost 1 year now and I’m still dealing with it albeit better. Thank you for writing this because PMS is certainly not made up!

    • 400daystil40

      March 15, 2012 at 22:14

      You are welcome, Alyss. I have heard from many women that it can take 1-2 years to fully detox from the effects of birth control pills (when they are sensitive and have issues with them). I hope you are on the road to a quick recovery!

  11. Sandra

    March 19, 2012 at 02:48

    Good lord, wait til you hit menopause! I hit it in my mid 40s. Enjoy PMS, this is far worse (and it’s every day)! 🙂 Thank goodness there’s medication for it!
    Thanks for stopping by and liking my blog!

    • 400daystil40

      March 19, 2012 at 08:00

      Thank you, Sandra!!!! Oh no, I cannot even THINK of menopause right now!!! 😛

  12. DeeDee

    March 19, 2012 at 20:00

    PMS is a fact. It is caused by a sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone just before menstruation. These hormone levels gradually increase through the month but then plummet from the highest level in the month to zero with no transition. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of changes in levels of these incredibly powerful chemicals than others.

    Does that make it an excuse? No. But it does make it a real and valid thing that causes some people to suffer substantially. Certain mental illnesses can magnify the problems dramatically. For example, I have bipolar disorder and the drop in estrogen levels makes me subject to breakthrough depression a few days a month, although my symptoms are otherwise well controlled by medication. It sucks, but that’s still not an excuse – that’s a reason to seek medical help or therapy to work on behavioral changes that can reduce the spillover from emotional instability.

    By the way, chocolate stimulates serotonin production, and therefore has antidepressant properties. But you should stick with chocolate that’s 65% cacao or higher. The milk chocolate stuff is a waste of calories with no substantive health benefits. The high potency chocolate is genuinely good for you, in moderation.

    • 400daystil40

      March 19, 2012 at 22:06

      Thank you, Disorderlychickadee, for your comments. Yes, PMS is VERY real and for those who suffer deeply, there are important treatments out there that they need to take advantage of. Great points about chocolate, yet interesting, as you mention, that it is only CERTAIN TYPES of chocolate that make the difference, and they are not necessarily the types of chocolate that we go for during PMS.
      Thanks for such an informative and insightful response, I hope to hear more from you! I think the readers have a lot to learn from you.

  13. buckwheatsrisk

    March 22, 2012 at 22:09

    so what do you have to say about women in menopause…lol I am not it was just a funny thought! very good perspective on peeing and messing!

    • 400daystil40

      March 23, 2012 at 07:48

      Thanks so much – I suppose that when I get to menopause I will have to start a new blog and write on that topic!!!! 🙂 🙂

      • buckwheatsrisk

        March 23, 2012 at 18:09

        lets not rush it though right??? lol pms is bad enough

        • 400daystil40

          March 23, 2012 at 23:58

          Exactly!!! 🙂

          • buckwheatsrisk

            March 24, 2012 at 05:28



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