By Mireya Rodriguez |Staff Writer|
PMSing is not a myth; it is a fact. While men have a hard time believing in the symptoms of PMS, it is real and it affects women everywhere of many ages.
Premenstrual Syndrome is a set of symptoms connected to the menstrual cycle. According to Womenshealth.gov, these symptoms start to occur one to two weeks prior to the menstruation.
In most cases, PMS disappears after the period starts, but it can last until the end of it too. For some women, these symptoms will not really affect their daily life, while others can find it hard to handle daily tasks.
PMS is caused by several factors, according to Womenshealth.gov. One of the causes is hormones. The fluctuation of the hormone levels affect some women differently than others.
Another cause can be brain chemical changes.
Some of the most common symptoms include acne, sensitive breasts, fatigue, insomnia, upset stomach, bloating, headache or backache, cravings, muscle or joint pain, lack of concentration or memory, irritability, moodiness, anxiety, and depression.
“If cortisol is high and serotonin is low, you’ll seek carbs and fats, but really heavy duty on the simple carbs — sugar-based sweets like chocolate bars,” said Pamela Peeke, MD, Master of Public Health.
Among the top cravings women have during PMS are chocolate, sweets, carbohydrates, and salty foods, according to Kate Leinweber from GaiamTV.com.
“Chocolate definitely helps my wife during her time of the month,” said Lane Huffman, a Palm Desert Campus student.
When I asked how he felt about PMS, Huffman said,”There are a lot of stereotypes attached to PMS, and men use it against women,”
“Women are more in touch with their feelings and attempt to communicate during PMS and their period, but men do not buy the “PMS” explanation,” added Huffman.
One of the many negative connotations that he has heard to describe women during this time of the month is “bitchy”.
Ece Algan, PH.D. from the Communications Department also feels that,”bitchy, moody, grumpy, angry, irrational” are used to describe women during PMS.
“Whenever a woman expresses her feelings and needs in a very demanding or assertive way in the workplace, which is still mostly male-dominated, the assumption is that she must be PMSing or menstruating,” said Algan.
Algan believes that such an assumption “which labels women irrational, results in men ignoring or discrediting women’s ideas, needs, and demands in the workplace, and even in their personal, family lives”.
“Our media, which mirrors the values of our patriarchal society, further reinforce this by creating story lines that stereotype PMS,” according to Algan.
What many women and men do not know, however, is that 2 to 10% of women with a period have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, or PMDD, a severe type of PMS, according to Webmd.com.
The symptoms, while similar to PMS, can be extreme enough to impede work, activities, and relations, according to WebMD.
Women have a higher risk of PMDD if they have a genetic history of depression or postpartum depression, according to WebMD.
While some men stereotype women and their PMS or period, women do in fact go through a menstrual cycle every month, and PMS does exist before their period starts, in one way or another.
We can’t just “walk it off.”