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.
PMS DO NOTs:
- 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.
- 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.